Title: The impact of perceived character similarity and identification on moral disengagement

Authors: Mina Tsay, K. Maja Krakowiak

Addresses: Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Boston University, 640 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA. ' Department of Communication, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA

Abstract: Enjoyment of entertainment media has often been conceptualised as a function of viewers| dispositions towards characters and the gratification sought from witnessing the justification of character actions. Motivated by disposition theory and third-person effect|s social distance corollary, this study examines how character similarity and identification predict the degree to which viewers morally disengage, or accept antisocial behaviours of characters as morally acceptable. Findings suggest that perceived similarity between the viewer and character mediates the relationship between identification and moral disengagement, which in turn leads to greater affective enjoyment of a narrative. Implications for the nature of the moral disengagement process and its effects are discussed.

Keywords: moral disengagement; narrative enjoyment; character identification; character similarity; character disposition; disposition theory; social distance; antisocial behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2011.037773

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2011 Vol.4 No.1, pp.102 - 110

Published online: 11 Jan 2015 *

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