Becoming a vampire without being bitten: the narrative collective-assimilation hypothesis.
“We propose the narrative collective-assimilation hypothesis—that experiencing a narrative leads one to psychologically become a part of the collective described within the narrative. In a test of this hypothesis, participants read passages from either a book about wizards (from the Harry Potter series) or a book about vampires (from the Twilight series). Both implicit and explicit measures revealed that participants who read about wizards psychologically became wizards, whereas those who read about vampires psychologically became vampires. The results also suggested that narrative collective assimilation is psychologically meaningful and relates to the basic human need for connection. Specifically, the tendency to fulfill belongingness needs through group affiliation moderated the extent to which narrative collective assimilation occurred, and narrative collective assimilation led to increases in life satisfaction and positive mood, two primary outcomes of belonging. The implications for the importance of narratives, the need to belong to groups, and social surrogacy are discussed.”
Bonus quote from the full text:
“We next administered an explicit (albeit somewhat indirect) measure of collective assimilation, which we call the Twilight/Harry Potter Narrative Collective-Assimilation Scale. Embedded among filler questions were three items designed to measure collective assimilation of Twilight vampires (“Compared to the average person, how high do you think you could jump?” “How long could you go without sleep?” and “How sharp are your teeth?”) and three items designed to measure collective assimilation of Harry Potter wizards (“How British do you feel?” “Do you think, if you tried really hard, you might be able to make an object move just using the power of your mind?” and “Do you think you might ever be able to make yourself disappear and reappear somewhere else?”).”
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