When people read a story, feelings of rightness from regulatory fit (consistency between regulatory state and strategic means) could suggest that the story is “right on” relative to feelings of wrongness from regulatory nonfit. Under these conditions, individuals who are experiencing feelings of rightness should engage more with the narrative and be more persuaded by its implicit messages. Results from two experiments supported these hypotheses. Participants in Experiment 1 were more mentally engaged (transported) by the story when they experienced regulatory fit. We replicated this effect in Experiment 2 and extended it to endorsement of story-consistent beliefs, an indicator of persuasion via narratives. Additionally, we found that drawing participants' attention to an earlier event as a source of feelings of rightness eliminated the regulatory fit effects on transportation and persuasion, suggesting attribution of feelings of regulatory fit/nonfit to the plausibility of the narrative world.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Vaughn, Leigh Ann; Hesse, Sarah J.; Petkova, Zhivka; and Trudeau, Lindsay, "“This Story Is Right On”: The Impact of Regulatory Fit on Narrative Engagement and Persuasion" (2009). Psychology Department Faculty Publications and Presentations. 2.