The political world within: how citizens process and experience political narratives

Bryan McLaughlin, John A. Velez, Joshua A. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper considers how citizens process and experience political narratives. We start by providing a general overview of political narratives. Next, we discuss how citizens mentally represent narratives, how individual stories interact with pre-existing knowledge, and how citizens use diverse sources of information to construct seemingly cohesive mental models of the political story world. Third, we describe how citizens become transported into political plotlines, simulating direct experience of distal political worlds. Further, we explain how citizens can draw upon their mental representations of the political story world to construct self-generated narratives–and how citizens can subsequently become transported into these self-generated narratives. Finally, we discuss how political narratives can affect political attitudes, beliefs, identities, and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-172
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the International Communication Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Narratives
  • mental models
  • political narratives
  • political transportation
  • transportation


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