Does Character Similarity Increase Identification and Persuasion?

Jonathan Cohen, Dana Weimann-Saks, Maya Mazor-Tregerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The identity of protagonists in persuasive narratives was varied to test the impact of audience-character demographic similarity on identification. In Study 1, sex and nationality, both traits that were pretested to be important to participants’ self-identity, were varied, but demographic similarity did not increase perceived similarity, identification or persuasion. In Study 2, age and city of residence, traits that were central to the story, were varied, but again similarity on these demographic traits had no effects. Given previous research, these were surprising findings. The failure to find the expected effect of demographic similarity on identification and its implications for the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of identification are discussed within the framework of narrative response theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-528
Number of pages23
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this manuscript was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (grant # 780/12) awarded to the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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