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Calidad Revistas Científicas Españolas
Author / Juan-José IGARTUA Director of the Observatory for Audiovisual Contents (OCA). Department of Sociology and Communication. University of Salamanca, Spain.
Author / María MARCOS RAMOS Researcher at the Observatory for Audiovisual Contents. Faculty of Social Sciences. University of Salamanca. Spain
More authors:  1 2
Article / Influence of character type and narrative setting on character design for fictional television

Abstract /

The importance of characters in fictional audiovisual productions has received much emphasis in research on media entertainment. However, despite the centrality of characters, analysis of the factors that influence their design is a topic that has scarcely been approached. The objective of this research study was to analyze the process of designing fictional audiovisual characters. Participants (N = 303) were audiovisual communication students whose task was to create a fictional character while being manipulated experimentally (through instructions) as to the type of character to design (general versus immigrant character) and the fictional setting (hospital versus police station). The dependent variables were related to the attribution of narrative characteristics, socio-demographic characteristics, personality traits and potential for audience identification with the character. The results show that the type of character and narrative setting influenced the occupation assigned to that character: when the character to be designed was an immigrant and the action was to take place in a police station they were most frequently considered criminals. It was also confirmed that the character type to be designed affected the narrative role, role in the plot, educational level and socio-economic status assigned to the created character. In addition, the immigrant character was assigned a lower identification potential and this, in turn, influenced the personality traits assigned to the character.

Keywords /

TV fiction, immigration, identification with characters, experimental research, mediation analysis

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