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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2019 Jun 10:146167219853845. doi: 10.1177/0146167219853845. [Epub ahead of print]

Strategic Storytelling: When Narratives Help Versus Hurt the Persuasive Power of Facts.

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1 Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.


Stories are known to be powerful persuasive devices. Stories can capture attention, evoke emotion, and entrance listeners in a manner that reduces resistance to a message. Given the powerful persuasive potential of stories, one might deduce that it is best to embed one's facts within a story. In contrast to this perspective, the present research suggests that coupling facts with stories can either enhance or undermine persuasion. Specifically, to understand when facts benefit from the use of stories, this work provides a deeper examination of how counterargument reduction-a common explanation for the unique persuasive capabilities of stories-operates. Across three experiments, evidence is found for when it is more effective to embed facts within a story versus to use facts alone.


arguments; narrative transportation; persuasion; stories


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