Reconceptualizing address in television programming: The effect of address and affective empathy on viewer experience of parasocial interaction

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Abstract

Much scholarship has examined the parasocial bonds between audiences and media personalities. However, recent research differentiated between the development of parasocial relationships and the actual experience of parasocial interaction (EPSI) that can result from structural elements of a message such as style of address (Hartmann and Goldhoorn, 2011). This study presents an alternate conceptualization of style of address and employs an online assessment to examine its impact on the EPSI. Results indicated that bodily address, where the onscreen performer could be seen speaking to the viewer, fostered a stronger sense of interaction relative to verbal or no address. Moreover, emotional contagion, an affective component of empathy, likewise facilitated these perceived interactions, most strongly in response to bodily address.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-742
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

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