Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2015 Mara Bandt-Law
This paper proposes an experimental study that will examine narrative fiction’s ability to reduce implicit and explicit prejudice toward the mentally ill through spontaneous perspective-taking. The study will measure participants’ (n=100) opinions toward the mentally ill, contact with the mentally ill, and disposition to perspective-taking. It will then manipulate when and if the fictional narrative reveals the protagonist to be mentally ill. The character will be revealed as mentally ill either at the outset of the narrative, at the end of the narrative, or not at all. The study will then measure participants’ implicit and explicit prejudice and the extent they took the perspective of the protagonist while reading the narrative. It is hypothesized that the narrative will more effectively reduce prejudice toward the mentally ill if the protagonist is revealed to be mentally ill at the end of the narrative compared to at the outset because participants will be more able to take the perspective of the protagonist if they do not know he is mentally ill. Also, the narrative will more effectively reduce prejudice if the protagonist is revealed to be mentally ill compared to if the protagonist is not revealed to be mentally ill because participants in both reveal conditions will be able to take the perspective of the mentally ill protagonist to some extent. This study may provide insight into how narrative fiction can best be utilized to reduce prejudice toward marginalized groups.
Bandt-Law, Mara, "Can Narrative Fiction Reduce Prejudice Toward the Mentally Ill?" (2016). CMC Senior Theses. 1293.