Call for Papers

Long-term Effects in Narrative Communication Research

ICA-Preconference, 24 May 2018, Prague

Corinna Oschatz, Katharina Emde-Lachmund, Christoph Klimmt

Narratives have been attracting the interest of communication scholars in various fields, such as health communication, media psychology, political communication, or journalism studies (Green, Strange, & Brock, 2002).Their research is motivated by the observation that, although generally obtaining small effect sizes, narratives reliably show a stronger impact on the examined outcomes than non-narrative modes of communication. For example, narratives have been found to affect – in a short-term perspective – recipients’ attitudes and behavioral intentions that are beneficial to their personal health (e.g. Kim & Niederdeppe, 2016) or on benevolent attitudes towards stigmatized groups in society (e.g. Wong, Lookadoo, & Nisbett, 2017).

Substantially less research has so far addressed the temporal stability and sustainability of narrative media effects. The relatively small number of existing studies on long-term effects is related to a need for theoretical models specifying the development of persuasive effects over time and for solutions to methodological obstacles in detecting the long-term impact of narratives. However, to understand how effects of storytelling evolve over time is of great scientific and social relevance: Communicative interventions aiming at the recipients’ personal health will only have a relevant impact if the positive short-term influence on attitudes and intentions translates into, for example, regular medical check-ups or physical activity. Narrative messages aiming at attitudes towards social fringe groups will only have a valuable impact on society if these groups are accepted and integrated in the long run.

Generally, two forms of research of long-term effects can be distinguished. On the one hand, these are long-term effects of single narratives such as movies (Hart & Leiserowitz, 2009) or storified news messages (Shaffer et al., 2017). On the other hand, these are cumulated effects of multiple narratives disseminated in a serial format (Wang & Singhal., 2016) or sets of independent narratives on the same topic consumed over a longer period of time (Wills et al., 2009).

This preconference seeks for original contributions on both types of long-term effects. The Call for Papers invites scholars from various ICA divisions and interest groups to:

(1) discuss theoretical approaches modelling the long-term effects of narrative communication,

(2) reflect on (potentially unique) capabilities of narratives to involve audiences (e.g., transportation, identification, narrative engagement) as well as boundary conditions that may facilitate, enlarge, or undermine the long-term impact of storified messages,

(3) present current empirical research on long-term effects that may relate to a wide range of fictional and non-fictional narratives as well as diverse topics, mechanisms, moderators, and outcome variables (e.g., knowledge structures, attitudes, behavioral intentions, actual behaviors).

Submissions: Extended Abstracts (max. 800 words excluding references, tables, and figures) should be sent to Corinna Oschatz (corinna.oschatz@uni-mainz.de). Please send your submission in MS Word (.docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf). The deadline for submission is 31 January 2018. Notification of acceptance will be sent to authors no later than March 1, 2018. The preconference will take place on 24 May 2018 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on-site at the conference venue in Prague. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Corinna Oschatz (corinna.oschatz@uni-mainz.de).

Call For Papers (PDF)