Emotional engagement, but not transportation leads to higher empathy after reading a fictional story, in more agreeable participants
Keywords:agreeableness, story induced empathy, emotional engagement, transportation
Research from different disciplines points to a positive relationship between reading fiction and empathy. Some studies also focus on potential moderators of this relationship, such as individual personality differences and how the individual engages with the fictional text in terms of transportation. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether reading-induced affective empathy can be explained by personality traits, namely Agreeableness, and Emotional engagement, and Transportation. Participants were 132 undergraduate and graduate students, who read a short fictional story by J. Joyce and after that completed a set of questionnaires, containing measures of Big Five personality traits, Emotional engagement, Transportation and affective Empathy. Results show that there is a strong positive relationship between Agreeableness and story-induced Empathy and that this relationship can be partially explained by Emotional engagement. Transportation, on the other hand, did not show to be an important variable in the relationship of Agreeableness and story-induced Empathy, neither did it show to be a significant factor in this relationship when Emotional engagement was included.
This study provides information for additional understanding of the relationship between reading fiction and empathy through the investigation of its mediators.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Marina Kotrla Topić
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