The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Nov;79(5):701-21. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.79.5.701.


Transportation was proposed as a mechanism whereby narratives can affect beliefs. Defined as absorption into a story, transportation entails imagery, affect, and attentional focus. A transportation scale was developed and validated. Experiment 1 (N = 97) demonstrated that extent of transportation augmented story-consistent beliefs and favorable evaluations of protagonists. Experiment 2 (N = 69) showed that highly transported readers found fewer false notes in a story than less-transported readers. Experiments 3 (N = 274) and 4 (N = 258) again replicated the effects of transportation on beliefs and evaluations; in the latter study, transportation was directly manipulated by using processing instructions. Reduced transportation led to reduced story-consistent beliefs and evaluations. The studies also showed that transportation and corresponding beliefs were generally unaffected by labeling a story as fact or as fiction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Attention*
  • Attitude*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Male
  • Morals
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Values
  • Thinking