Reducing Stigma and Out-Group Distinctions Through Perspective-Taking in Narratives


Corresponding author: Adrienne H. Chung; e-mail:


We examine how viewers' narrative involvement is impacted by a character's membership in a highly stigmatized group. In particular, we explore how perspective-taking with a character, a dimension of the identification construct (J. Cohen, 2001), influences in-group/out-group perception. Participants viewed 1 of 2 edited versions of the film Sherrybaby, where the main character was manipulated to be relatively more stigmatized (recovering drug addict) or less stigmatized (single mother). As predicted, participants differed with respect to perspective-taking—the highly stigmatized character corresponded to less perspective-taking. Furthermore, the mediation and moderation results lend support to the argument that perspective-taking increases perceptions of in-group belonging and is of particular importance in determining whether a narrative influences in-group/out-group perspectives.