Narratives may outperform argument-based messages in certain situations, notably because they are thought to exert unique influence via particular mediational pathways. The present study tested three sets of potential mediators (believability, counterarguing, emotional reaction) of the relationship between message modality (narrative- vs. argument-based) and the outcome of purchase intentions. Participants (N = 214) were randomly assigned to view one of four advertisements from two brands featuring narrative- or argument-based messages and completed measures of purchase intentions, believability, counterarguing, and emotional reactions to the ad. As hypothesized, narratives increased intentions compared to non narratives. Single moderated mediation models supported the mediating contribution of the completeness dimension of believability, counterarguing, negative and positive affective reaction. A combined moderated mediation model provided further support for positive affect as a mediator. Results provide evidence for several theorized mechanisms of narrative persuasion and illustrate an approach to evaluating multiple mediators in comparative message research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language