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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 18 that are inconsistent with their cognitions. Further, past beliefs and attitudes can affect attention, retrieval and recognition. While both cognitively consistent and inconsistent information may be stored, retrieval and recognition of cognitively consistent information is favored (Eagly and Chaiken, 1993). Hindrances to Empathy After being attracted to and absorbed by the program, identification with the characters is the next important step in a successful E-E program. Identification can lead to empathy for the characters and this makes vicarious learning possible. However, empathy can be hindered due to several reasons. First, the audience may not identify with the character because s/he may be of a psychographic group (in terms, of age, sex, culture, socio-economic stratum) that the audience does not identify with. Second, even if the audience does identify with the character, there may be a lack of empathy on the part of the audience because the character may be perceived as deserving of a negative outcome, having the means to overcome a problem, or just more capable of handling the situation. In addition, if the person is sadistic, s/he might enjoy watching bad things happen to the character. All of these reasons hinder attitudinal change and behavior modification. Another hindrance to empathy is known as counter-empathy. When counter- empathy is at play, people respond in ways that are inconsistent with empathy. Zillmann (1996) claims that empathy depends on one’s affective disposition toward a character. If one has a positive affective disposition toward another, then he or she is likely to empathize. Negative affective dispositions “impair, prevent, or hedonically reverse” empathic reactions, causing counter-empathy (Zillmann, 1996 p. 217). Counter-empathy would hinder E-E programs when the character that is going through the behavior change is viewed negatively by the person

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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EE theory,
18
that are inconsistent with their cognitions. Further, past beliefs and attitudes can affect attention,
retrieval and recognition. While both cognitively consistent and inconsistent information may be
stored, retrieval and recognition of cognitively consistent information is favored (Eagly and
Chaiken, 1993).
Hindrances to Empathy
After being attracted to and absorbed by the program, identification with the characters is
the next important step in a successful E-E program. Identification can lead to empathy for the
characters and this makes vicarious learning possible. However, empathy can be hindered due to
several reasons. First, the audience may not identify with the character because s/he may be of a
psychographic group (in terms, of age, sex, culture, socio-economic stratum) that the audience
does not identify with. Second, even if the audience does identify with the character, there may
be a lack of empathy on the part of the audience because the character may be perceived as
deserving of a negative outcome, having the means to overcome a problem, or just more capable
of handling the situation. In addition, if the person is sadistic, s/he might enjoy watching bad
things happen to the character. All of these reasons hinder attitudinal change and behavior
modification. Another hindrance to empathy is known as counter-empathy. When counter-
empathy is at play, people respond in ways that are inconsistent with empathy. Zillmann (1996)
claims that empathy depends on one’s affective disposition toward a character. If one has a
positive affective disposition toward another, then he or she is likely to empathize. Negative
affective dispositions “impair, prevent, or hedonically reverse” empathic reactions, causing
counter-empathy (Zillmann, 1996 p. 217). Counter-empathy would hinder E-E programs when
the character that is going through the behavior change is viewed negatively by the person


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