Author(s): Philip J Mazzocco, Melanie C Green, Timothy C Brock
Two studies tested whether the possession of a mental story-bank (a set of thematically related narratives) affected the processing of a related narrative. Three competing predictions were proposed: a story-bank may lead to reduced attention, increased attention, or selective attention to a new, related story. The results of Study 1 (N = 125 undergraduates) suggested that a prior story-bank led to more efficient processing of a target narrative (as indicated by recall data), favoring a selective attention interpretation. Study 2 (N = 114 undergraduates) showed that individuals who possessed a relevant story-bank were more persuaded by a related target narrative, also consistent with the selective attention interpretation. Story-banks thus appeared to facilitate, rather than hinder, processing of new narratives.