Enhancing Attitudes Toward Stigmatized Groups with Movies: Mediating and Moderating Processes of Narrative Persuasion

Juan-José Igartua, Francisco J. Frutos


This study is linked to research into narrative persuasion and the techniques used to reduce rejection of stigmatized groups. Upper-secondary school students were assigned to one of two conditions: viewing a film that arouses empathy toward immigrants or seeing a film that underscores positive intergroup contact. One month before viewing the films the participants completed the Modern Racism Scale. After they viewed the films, researchers measured their identification with ingroup and outgroup characters and their attitudes toward immigration. Results showed that viewing the empathy-arousing film caused greater identification with the outgroup characters, which in turn induced more positive attitudes toward immigration, but only when previous prejudice was low or moderate. We discuss findings in the context of narrative persuasion research.


narrative persuasion, identification with characters, feature films, immigration, modern racism.

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