Identifying with a Religious Character

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
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  • 1 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament de Comunicació Audiovisual i Publicitat, Barcelona, Spain
  • | 2 Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Religionswissenschaft, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Fakultät für Philosophie, Munich, Germany
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This study examines the extent to which audience’s identification with a religious character relates to variables of the message, the cultural setting in which it is consumed, and the viewer. Four hundred and eight students from Spanish (Mean Age = 20.36, SD = 3.24) and Swiss universities (Mean Age = 22.16, SD = 2.76) were assigned to one of two narratives portraying a religious character (Mormon or Muslim). Before watching the film, they completed a questionnaire (gender, age, religious background, religious affiliation, religiosity, and spirituality). After the viewing, they indicated their identification with the character from the film. Results show that identification relates to the religion portrayed and the cultural context in which the film is viewed. Individuals with a personal link to religion identify to a greater extent. Moreover, individuals associate aspects of their spirituality and religiosity to dimensions of identification depending on the religion portrayed. The cultural setting impacts this association.

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