The Influence of Paratext on Narrative Persuasion: Fact, Fiction, or Fake?
Article first published online: 5 SEP 2012
© 2012 International Communication Association
Human Communication Research
Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 459–484, October 2012
How to Cite
Appel, M. and Malečkar, B. (2012), The Influence of Paratext on Narrative Persuasion: Fact, Fiction, or Fake?. Human Communication Research, 38: 459–484. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2012.01432.x
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 5 SEP 2012
The present research examined the role of personality factors and paratextual information about the reliability of a story on its persuasiveness. Study 1 (N = 135) was focused on recipients' explicit expectations about the trustworthiness/usefulness and the immersiveness/entertainment value of stories introduced as nonfiction, fiction, or fake. Study 2 (experimental, N = 186) demonstrated that a story was persuasive in all three paratext conditions (nonfiction, fiction, or fake versus belief-unrelated control story) and that its influence increased with the recipients' need for affect. Participants' need for cognition increased the difference in persuasiveness of a nonfictional versus a fake story. Additional mediation analyses suggest that fiction is more persuasive than fake because readers of fiction get more deeply transported into the story world.