Does It Matter If I Feel Sorry or Sorry for You? Testing the Roles of Empathy and Sympathy as Mechanisms Driving Viewer Response to a Dramatic Ad

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Abstract

Narrative messages on average produce higher levels of involvement, intention, and behavior than other message formats. Narratives also generate feelings of sympathy and empathy, although few studies have directly compared the roles of each emotion in the persuasion process. This article presents the results of two studies that tested the effect of exposure to a narrative or nonnarrative ad on persuasive outcomes and the roles sympathy and empathy play in the persuasion process. Both studies found that the narrative ad produced higher levels of involvement, intention, and behavior and that empathy played a more important role in persuasion than sympathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalCommunication Research Reports
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

Keywords

  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Empathy
  • Narrative Persuasion
  • Sympathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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