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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 9 heuristically, Shrum (2002) argues that the opinions formed via this route can be just as powerful as those made through the central route. This means that even if an E-E program fails to engage the audience through the central route, the persuasive effort of the program is not necessarily lost; heuristic cues in the programming may still have some effect on the audience. For example, if someone is in the situation where s/he is told of a potentially fatal illness, then s/he might retrieve how s/he is supposed to react to this unfamiliar situation based upon how a character reacted in a similar situation on an entertainment program that they only heuristically processed. However, ideally E-E programs lead to long-term attitude and behavior change through the audience processing the messages through the central route. Central Route/Systematic Processing/Absorption In order to take the central route in processing an entertainment narrative, the audience member needs to be both motivated and have the ability to do so. This involves first a willing suspension of disbelief, where the person allows the story (if only for the duration of it) to become real (Slater and Rouner, 2002). The suspension of disbelief is more enduring with television (or radio) series due to the fact that people tune in over and over and are willing to buy into two actors having a relationship and going through things that are not really going on for them in real life (Harris, 1989). In some cases, belief is suspended to the extent that the distinction between reality and fantasy is blurred (Harris, 1989). As this distinction disappears, people start to look to actors who play doctors for medical advice (Harris, 1989) and celebrities become a powerful tool for social change (Brown & Fraser, in press). Programs are not, however, absorbed by viewers uniformly (Anderson & Burns, 1991). Engagement, transportation, and absorption are all terms used by researchers to describe the extent to which “a message recipient is cognitively and affectively invested in a narrative”

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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EE theory,
9
heuristically, Shrum (2002) argues that the opinions formed via this route can be just as powerful
as those made through the central route. This means that even if an E-E program fails to engage
the audience through the central route, the persuasive effort of the program is not necessarily
lost; heuristic cues in the programming may still have some effect on the audience. For example,
if someone is in the situation where s/he is told of a potentially fatal illness, then s/he might
retrieve how s/he is supposed to react to this unfamiliar situation based upon how a character
reacted in a similar situation on an entertainment program that they only heuristically processed.
However, ideally E-E programs lead to long-term attitude and behavior change through the
audience processing the messages through the central route.
Central Route/Systematic Processing/Absorption
In order to take the central route in processing an entertainment narrative, the audience
member needs to be both motivated and have the ability to do so. This involves first a willing
suspension of disbelief, where the person allows the story (if only for the duration of it) to
become real (Slater and Rouner, 2002). The suspension of disbelief is more enduring with
television (or radio) series due to the fact that people tune in over and over and are willing to buy
into two actors having a relationship and going through things that are not really going on for
them in real life (Harris, 1989). In some cases, belief is suspended to the extent that the
distinction between reality and fantasy is blurred (Harris, 1989). As this distinction disappears,
people start to look to actors who play doctors for medical advice (Harris, 1989) and celebrities
become a powerful tool for social change (Brown & Fraser, in press).
Programs are not, however, absorbed by viewers uniformly (Anderson & Burns, 1991).
Engagement, transportation, and absorption are all terms used by researchers to describe the
extent to which “a message recipient is cognitively and affectively invested in a narrative”


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