Strategic Language Use and Narrative Impact
There is abundant evidence for the impact stories can have on what we believe to be true, on what we consider desirable, and even on how we act. Far less is known about the processes responsible for this impact and the extent to which strategic language use can evoke and guide these processes. I will present a number of studies in which we aimed to uncover mechanisms of narrative persuasion. More specifically, I will focus on how the linguistic representation of a character’s perspective can evoke the feeling of being present at the events described in the narrative as well as lead to the adoption of the character’s goals and interests. Especially the latter effect, generally referred to as identification, plays an important role in influencing people’s opinions and attitudes.