Measuring Actor-Observer Perspective Taking in Narrative Processing

Shuo Zhou, Michael A. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


An important difference in the way audience members engage and understand story characters is whether they take an actor’s or observer’s perspective. This paper conceptualizes and operationalizes elements of perspective taking in the context of a media story, proposing and testing the reliability and validity of a multi-dimensional measurement of actor-observer perspective taking (AOPT). Using stories in two different contexts, an exploratory factor analysis identified six dimensions of actor-observer perspective taking—egocentric projection, intentionality judgment, understanding from a character’s perspective, internal attribution, external attribution, and capability explanation. A replication of earlier results that used different measures showed the effect of character morality on perspective taking and supported construct validity. An analysis differentiating AOPT measures from transportation supports discriminant validity. The importance of perspective taking in the psychology of narrative is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
EventICA 2017 - 67th Annual International Communication Association Conference: Interventions. Communication Research and Practice - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 25 May 201729 May 2017


ConferenceICA 2017 - 67th Annual International Communication Association Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Internet address


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