Title

Eliciting Behavior From Interactive Narratives: Isolating the Role of Agency in Connecting With and Modeling Characters

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2-2015

Abstract

A key component differentiating interactive storytelling from non-interactive media is agency, or control over character choices. A series of experiments show that providing agency over a character increased the user-character connection, which then increased engagement in a character-consistent charitable act. Findings were observed in technologically simple online narratives that controlled for navigation/controller differences, graphics, sounds, lengthy play, and avatar customization. Effects emerged even though users did not practice these acts by making their character behave charitably. Findings were robust across happy and unfortunate endings and across first-, second-, and third-person narrative perspectives. Findings suggest promise for developing inexpensive “storygames” to encourage supportive behaviors.

Publication Name

Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

Volume Number

59

First Page

76

Last Page

93

Issue Number

1

DOI

10.1080/08838151.2014.998222

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