Interpersonal Relations in Narrative Fiction, Real-Life, and In-between (*pre-recorded)

Monday, October 26, 2020 (3:45 PM – 5:00 PM)

Raymond Mar

Professor of Psychology
York University

Our lab has long-studied whether imagined experiences within the realm of fictional story-worlds might impact the way we think and feel in reality. This research has recently turned to examine the role of intimate relationships in shaping how we engage with stories. In this talk, I summarize research two former students, Dr. Marina Rain and Dr. Elizabeth van Monsjou, which illustrate this complex process. In the work by the former, adult attachment is shown to predict how people engage with stories. Moreover, the results of this research hint at the different needs satisfied by those with different attachment styles. Research by the latter engages with the idea of “shipping,” a truncation of “relationshipping,” in which people become strongly invested in the coupling of fictional characters. An exploratory study and a pre-registered replication explored whether this is a unique form of media engagement, who is likely to ship, and also why they may engage in shipping. A follow-up study using data from Twitter further explored the relationship between shippers and story creators.


Presentation slide deck

View recording