is a Penn State Professor and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory,
as well as, a member of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies.
She is co-author of
Advances in Theory and Research.
about the role of the media in fostering a culture of empathy. Needless to
say, the media is doing a lot to inhibit empathy at the moment.
Mary conducted a study titled, 'The Effect of Narrative News Format on
Empathy for Stigmatized Groups'. "The primary aim of this study
was to evaluate the extent to which news story format (narrative vs.
non-narrative) can initiate empathic processes that produce more
favorable evaluations of stigmatized groups." The study showed that
narrative stories stimulate more empathy and compassion Sub
Conference: Journalism and Media
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The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the extent
to which news story format (narrative vs. non-narrative) can initiate
empathic processes that produce more favorable evaluations of
stigmatized groups. Participants (N = 399) read one of two versions of a
story that described health care–related dilemmas for either immigrants,
prisoners, or the elderly. Narrative-formatted stories produce more
compassion toward the individuals in the story, more favorable attitudes
toward the group, more beneficial behavioral intentions, and more
"How the news media tell a story can make those who
consume the story more compassionate and willing to act and help others.
According to Penn State researchers, news reports can boost empathy
toward stigmatized groups, particularly if they go beyond factual
information to include stories that more effectively trigger emotional