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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 10 (Slater and Rouner, 2002, p. 179). If an audience member is able to consciously counterargue the persuasive messages, then s/he has not suspended all belief and is not fully absorbed in the entertainment program (Slater and Rouner, 2002). Slater and Rouner (2002) argue that the ability for E-E to block counterarguing through absorption offers a unique opportunity to reach people who might otherwise be resistant to persuasion. However, we do not contend with the assumption that systematically processing an entertainment message through the central route means having to have a complete suspension of disbelief. Sood (2002) posits that audience involvement in the entertainment program “serves as a mediator for promoting attitude and behavior change” (p. 153) and identifies two dimensions of audience involvement: affective- referential involvement, which is identifying with characters and relating the storyline to one’s own life, and cognitive-critical involvement, which involves thinking about messages contained in the storyline and suggesting changes to the plot. While affective-referential involvement might lead to modeling one’s behavior after the characters and/or building a sense of self- efficacy, cognitive-critical involvement can also be effective in motivating the audience to seek more information and take action based upon message arguments. This means that one can be cognitively critical of the characters and plot and thus not totally absorbed, yet still be influenced by E-E programming. Essentially, a cognitive and emotional involvement with the program and its characters is necessary in order for people to take the central route to processing the program. This involvement thus increases the potential for the persuasive messages to be effective. However, even when the audience is involved and is centrally processing the program, the program may still not be effective. The effectiveness of the E-E program will also depend on how the message receivers react to the experiences of the characters.

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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EE theory,
10
(Slater and Rouner, 2002, p. 179). If an audience member is able to consciously counterargue
the persuasive messages, then s/he has not suspended all belief and is not fully absorbed in the
entertainment program (Slater and Rouner, 2002). Slater and Rouner (2002) argue that the
ability for E-E to block counterarguing through absorption offers a unique opportunity to reach
people who might otherwise be resistant to persuasion. However, we do not contend with the
assumption that systematically processing an entertainment message through the central route
means having to have a complete suspension of disbelief. Sood (2002) posits that audience
involvement in the entertainment program “serves as a mediator for promoting attitude and
behavior change” (p. 153) and identifies two dimensions of audience involvement: affective-
referential involvement, which is identifying with characters and relating the storyline to one’s
own life, and cognitive-critical involvement, which involves thinking about messages contained
in the storyline and suggesting changes to the plot. While affective-referential involvement
might lead to modeling one’s behavior after the characters and/or building a sense of self-
efficacy, cognitive-critical involvement can also be effective in motivating the audience to seek
more information and take action based upon message arguments. This means that one can be
cognitively critical of the characters and plot and thus not totally absorbed, yet still be influenced
by E-E programming.
Essentially, a cognitive and emotional involvement with the program and its characters is
necessary in order for people to take the central route to processing the program. This
involvement thus increases the potential for the persuasive messages to be effective. However,
even when the audience is involved and is centrally processing the program, the program may
still not be effective. The effectiveness of the E-E program will also depend on how the message
receivers react to the experiences of the characters.


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