Egocentric Projection onto Story Characters

Shuo Zhou, Michael A. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


Understanding how audiences perceive narrative characters is important to understanding how audiences engage in a story and how persuasive and/or entertaining narrative messages work. The current studies examine to what extent and when do audience members understand a character’s mental processing by egocentric projection—projection of the audience member’s own mental processes into the mind of the character. The results of two experiments indicate that this depends on a number of factors including familiarity with the character, whether audiences anchor on the self, availability of mental resources and existence of competing stereotypes. Overall the results support theories indicating that egocentric projection is most likely for unfamiliar characters. This study helps clarify some common misunderstandings of egocentric projection and shed light on the mechanism of narrative processing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Event64th Annual International Communication Association Conference, ICA 2014: Communication and the Good Life - Seattle, United States
Duration: 22 May 201426 May 2014


Conference64th Annual International Communication Association Conference, ICA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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