Defining Identification: A Theoretical Look at the Identification of Audiences With Media Characters

  title={Defining Identification: A Theoretical Look at the Identification of Audiences With Media Characters},
  author={Jonathan Cohen},
  journal={Mass Communication and Society},
  pages={245 - 264}
  • Jonathan Cohen
  • Published 1 August 2001
  • Business
  • Mass Communication and Society
In this article I argue that although the notion of identification with media characters is widely discussed in media research, it has not been carefully conceptualized or rigorously tested in empirical audience studies. This study presents a theoretical discussion of identification, including a definition of identification and a discussion of the consequences of identification with media characters for the development of identity and socialization processes. It is suggested that a useful… 
Identification with characters and narrative persuasion through fictional feature films
Abstract This article presents three studies examining the importance of identification with characters in research on media entertainment. In Study 1 it was found that identification with characters
Towards Understanding the Process of Identification with Fictional Characters: The Interplay of Positive Affect, Demographic Similarity, and Personality Similarity
Though identification is a construct that has been studied for over a century, surprisingly little is known about the process. Of particular interest to the fields of media and social psychology,
Extending the Examination of Audience Involvement With Media Personae: Response to Brown
A large body of research has demonstrated that audience involvement with media characters can facilitate media effects in important ways. Over time, our understanding of the various processes of
Identification as a Mechanism of Narrative Persuasion
The perspective from which a story is told is used to manipulate identification experimentally and test effects on attitudes, indicating that identification can be a mechanism of narrative persuasion.
Theorizing Parasocial Interactions Based on Authenticity: The Development of a Media Figure Classification Scheme
The relationships viewers develop with media figures have received substantial attention in the scholarship of entertainment. The present research proposes an original four-dimension classification
Story Perspective and Character Similarity as Drivers of Identification and Narrative Persuasion
Identification with a character is an important mechanism of narrative persuasion. In 2 studies, the impact of character similarity on identification was pitted against that of story perspective.
The role of the narrator point of view and the similarity with the protagonist in narratives designed to reduce prejudice towards stigmatized immigrants
The present project will specifically focus on the role of two independent variables that can increase identification and indirectly influence intergroup attitudes: the narrator point of view and the similarity between the character and the audience of the message.
Cultural Diversity in Television Narratives: Homophilization, Appropriation, and Implications for Media Advocacy
This research explores the role of cultural diversity in the construction of consumer identity, and in particular, how cultural diversity is appropriated through television viewing. Data based on


Identification as a mediator of celebrity effects
Considerable research has been devoted to the effects of celebrity endorsers on consumer behavior. Most of the research has examined credibility or attractiveness as a determinant of message
Notes on the struggle to define involvement in television viewing.
Summary: This article offers a way of categorising viewers' involvement in Television by type of response, with particular reference to popular soap operas. It postulates four types of viewer
Social affiliation and the achievement of ontological security through interpersonal and mass communication
The differences in the ways various modes of communication serve to create such an understanding are explored and may form the basis for a more integrative theory of communication that may transcend specific media, content, or contexts.
Aspects of Literary Response: A New Questionnaire.
A newly developed instrument, the Literary Response Questionnaire (LRQ), provides scales that measure seven different aspects of readers' orientation toward literary texts: Insight, Empathy, Imagery
By now, the statistics are well known and the argument familiar. The Canadian publisher, Harlequin Enterprises, alone claims to have sold 168 million romances throughout the world in the single year
Sex-role differences in children's identification with counterstereotypical televised portrayals
Studies of television's effects on children's sex-role learning suggest that the medium's current contribution is toward traditional sex-role development, but the medium may be effective in fostering
Mechanisms of emotional involvement with drama
Children's wishful identification and parasocial interaction with favorite television characters
Children aged 7 to 12 were interviewed about their favorite TV character. Nearly all boys and about half of the girls selected same‐sex favorites. Regression analyses used perceived character traits