This study empirically tested theoretical postulations regarding the persuasive effects of emotional flow induced by narrative messages. An experiment (N = 347) was conducted to test if emotional flow and ending emotional valence promote transportation and identification, and in turn persuasion. Emotional flow was operationalized as a shift in emotional valence experienced during message exposure (positive-negative, negative-positive). Consistent with the theory of emotional flow, messages inducing an emotional shift led to greater transportation and identification than messages that did not induce a shift. Ending emotional valence had significant effects on transportation but not identification. Finally, transportation and identification mediated effects of shift on attitude and behavioral intention. This paper concludes with avenues for future research on emotional flow including discussion of methodological challenges such as a confound between message length and emotional shift manipulation, which was a limitation in this study.
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