Individuals are constantly faced with the need to form impressions of others they encounter. For decades social psychologists and media researchers have examined not only the end result of impression formation but also the cognitive process itself. However, very little media research has examined the cognitive process that takes place when viewers are forming impressions of fictional media characters. There is reason to believe that viewers rely on information and form impressions of media characters in much the same way they do interpersonally. Viewers may use an approach in which categorical labels are the driving force and individual characteristics or attributes receive second billing, or they may be prompted to use a more systematic approach in which impressions are formed based on evaluation of individual attributes, especially when provided or exposed to information that is inconsistent with their preconceived notions of the target person/character. The present study will attempt to build a base for establishing a stronger link between social psychological theories of impression formation and fictional media character.
LAP Lambert Academic Publishing
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