The Effects of Presentation and Individual Differences on Narrative Engagement

Joseph Morgan, The College of Wooster


The present study examined the relationship of empathy, need for affect, mental imagery, and need for cognition with narrative engagement in three different types of media: the novel, graphic novel, and movie. The study consisted of 61 participants (34 males and 27 females) from the College of Wooster who were recruited through SONA Systems Ltd. and volunteers. Subjects were divided into three groups, novel, graphic novel, and movie group, in which their levels of empathy need for affect, mental imagery, and need for cognition were measured. They were exposed to a short narrative and then their levels of narrative engagement were measured. No significant predictors were discovered in all three groups. Empathy and Need for Affect were both significantly and positively correlated with narrative engagement in the movie group. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.