Author(s): Habermas T, Diel V
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Abstract Out of the complex influences of event, narrative and listener characteristics on narrative emotions, this paper focuses on event severity, narrative perspectives, mood, and dispositions for emotion regulation and empathy. Event severity and perspective representation were systematically varied in sad autobiographical narratives to study their influence on quantity and quality of readers' emotional response. Each of three stories were manipulated to contain elaborated perspectives, only the past protagonists' perspective (dramatic narration), and very little perspectives at all (impersonal narration). We predicted that event severity influences the quantity of emotional response, while degree of perspective representation influences plausibility and whether emotional responses are sympathetic or interactional, that is, directed against the narrator. Hypotheses were confirmed except for plausibility, and perspective representation had an effect only on anger against and dislike of the narrator. In a second study, impersonal narration evoked anger at and negative evaluations of the narrator which were related to blaming the narrator for showing too little emotional involvement. The generalizability of findings across emotions and implications for sharing of emotions in everyday and clinical settings are discussed.
This article was published in Emotion
and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health