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Utrecht Centre for Television in Transition


7 March 2016
15.30 - 17.30, A.W. de Groot Kamer, Trans 10, Utrecht

Hans Hoeken – Story Perspective and Character Similarity as Drivers of Identification and Narrative Persuasion

Hans Hoeken will present two recent studies he conducted together with Matthijs Kolthof (RUN) and José Sanders (RUN). The two studies address the question how story perspective and character similarity work as drivers of identification and narrative persuasion. In a pre-published article for Human Communication Research, Hoeken et al. summarize their studies as follows: “Identification with a character is an important mechanism of narrative persuasion”. In two studies, the impact of character similarity on identification was pitted against that of story perspective. Participants read stories in which a lawyer (Study 1) and a general practitioner (GP; Study 2) had a conflict with another character. Perspective was manipulated by describing the events as experienced and narrated by the lawyer (GP) or their opponent. In Study 1 (N = 120), 60 participants were law students, in Study 2 (N = 120) 60 were medical students. Both perspective and program of study influenced identification, which mediated the impact of perspective on attitude. If participants felt highly similar to the professional’s opponent, the mediating effect of identification was blocked.” During the TViT session, Hans will discuss the design of his study and its outcomes in the light of Murry Smith’s theory of engagement as developed in his book Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion and the Cinema (Oxford UP 1995).
Send an email to e.mueller[at]uu.nl if you want to receive a copy of the pre-published version of the article.

Hans Hoeken was appointed professor of Communication and Information Studies at Utrecht University in September 2016. He is responsible for the further development of the BA programme in Communication and Information Studies, a joint programme of the Department of Language, Literature and Communication (TLC) and the Department of Media and Culture Studies (MCW).
Hans Hoeken is fascinated by the question as to how communication can influence what people believe to be true, evaluate as good (or bad), and how they behave. What is the role of the content of the communication in this process? And to what extent does the message’s form figure into the equation? He is interested in the role of argumentation and (verbal and visual) rhetorical figures in rhetorical communication, but also in how stories can influence opinions, attitudes, and behavior. His research has been published in international journals (such as Journal of Communication, Journal of Advertising, Communication Theory, and Thinking & Reasoning). He is also co-author of Overtuigende Teksten (Persuasive Texts) a (Dutch) monograph on how choices in the design of persuasive documents can influence the persuasion process.