Author(s): William Kinnally, Firat Tuzunkan, Arthur A Raney, Megan Fitzgerald, Jason Kemmitt Smith
The current study uses affective disposition theory and the schema-triggered affect model to examine the process of forming affiliations with media characters. In the current study, disposition formation was examined within the nonfiction context of sports news. Individual levels of sports fanship and religiosity were used to examine associations between existing cognitive schema and the disposition toward an unknown athlete and the appreciation of a sports news story. A sample of 195 individuals read a sports magazine article in which a fictitious athlete either expressed a religious affiliation or no religious affiliation. Respondents evaluated the article containing statements of religious affiliation more positively than the similar article containing no expression of religious affiliation. Compared to general and specific sport interest, religiosity was the best predictor of disposition formation toward the athlete and appreciation of the article. This study expands the disposition literature by examining media coverage surrounding sports events and extending our knowledge of how cognitive constructs are related to disposition formation and enjoyment.