Imagined Politics: How Different Media Platforms Transport Citizens Into Political Narratives

Bryan McLaughlin, John A. Velez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This article examines political transportation—the construction of mental models that represent a political world and result in the absorption and positioning of oneself within the constructed world. Specifically, we propose that when citizens become immersed in the political narrative crafted by a politician, they become more likely to see the political world as personally relevant and, subsequently, become more committed to supporting that candidate. Further, the degree of political immersion should depend upon which media platform a campaign message is delivered through. These expectations were tested using an experiment where partisans were exposed to a campaign message delivered in the form of a television ad, a political e-mail, or a series of tweets. Results demonstrate that Twitter was the least likely to lead to political immersion. Further, results provide support for our theoretical model, where there is an indirect effect of campaign messages on political attitudes and behavior through immersion and perceived personal relevance. Taken together, this study demonstrates the utility of applying the concept of narrative transportation to politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Twitter
  • narrative transportation
  • political advertising
  • political campaigns
  • political e-mails
  • political transportation


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