Student Research Projects

Effect of Perspective on Transportation into a Narrative World

Student Riana D. Garcia, '16
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course Psychology 480: Originial Research Project

Abstract

There has been a lack of empirical study on narrative transportation and physiological response using poetics, specifically short stories. This study used point-of-view of the story as an experimental manipulation that involved modifying a story (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”) so that first-person and third-person perspective could be compared. The participants’ narrative transportation, defined as getting carried away mentally, was measured using the Narrative Transportation Scale (NTS). The physiological responses were pupil dilation measured using an eye tracker and heart rate and blood pressure measured using a blood pressure cuff. Additionally, the participants completed the Author Recognition Test (ART) to determine if reader experience, measured as familiarity with authors of fiction, had an effect. Higher ART scores were considered to be more expert readers and more likely to be transported, thus looking at a reader’s own transportability (or characteristics of a reader that makes them more likely to be transported). First-person perspective, interacting with reader expertise, was predicted to induce narrative transportation, resulting in an increase in physiological responses and NTS scores compared to third-person perspective. The results did not demonstrate a simple effect of first- versus third- person perspectives on narrative transportation or physiological responses. However, more complex relationships between these variables will be discussed that may inform future research. For example, in the third-person condition, the correlation between ART score and NST score was found to be statistically significant. Additionally, it seems that there is a correlation between pupil dilation and NTS scores.