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Interactive Narratives: Processes and Outcomes in User‐Directed Stories


Journal of Communication

Published online on


Interactive narratives are stories that allow readers to determine the direction of the plot, often at key decision points. Unanswered questions remain about the types of psychological processes evoked by these “Choose Your Own Adventure” style narratives, as well as the relative persuasive influence of interactive narratives compared to traditional narratives. The current paper reviews the existing literature and provides a theoretical framework to guide future research on interactive narratives, particularly as a tool for entertainment‐education efforts. Specifically, we highlight increased user control and looser narrative structure as key elements of interactive narratives, and discuss possible effects of these differences on engagement variables (e.g., transportation, identification, perceived realism), self‐related variables (responsibility), and outcomes (e.g., enjoyment, attitude change, health behaviors).