Modeling the Antihero Narrative Enjoyment Process

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Abstract

Over the past decade, entertainment scholars have extended affective disposition theory beyond traditional hero narratives to better understand the enjoyment of antihero narratives. This study builds upon and unifies this work through the development of a generalized model of the antihero narrative enjoyment process. Participants (n = 234) viewed 1 of the 3 feature-length antihero films. The findings revealed a consistent enjoyment model that highlights the role of the individual-difference variable willingness to accept violence as a predictor of situational moral disengagement, leading to character identification and liking, which in turn predicted enjoyment. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that identification seems to be the process through which we build dispositions toward an antihero character, rather than moral judgments, extending previous research on the role of identification for antihero enjoyment.

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