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© 2018 American Psychological Association. Transportation, the experience of feeling "transported" into a fictional world, differs widely across individuals. We examined transportation in 3 studies. Study 1 investigated links between individual differences in various measures of audience response, whereas the latter 2 studies examined links between trait measures (independent variables) and audience response (dependent variables). Study 1 found that individual differences in self-reported transportation to a film explained variation in virtually all other dependent measures, such as identification with characters, emotion, and attribution of blame for the protagonist's struggles. Group bonding after watching the film was nonlinearly related to endorphin response (as measured by pain threshold), and transportation related to these variables as well (although more weakly). Study 2 found that individual differences in celebrity worship predicted transportation, as well as tendency to identify with the characters and approve of their behavior. Study 3 demonstrated that individual differences in trait measures of sensation seeking and empathy independently predicted viewers' transportation in 2 very different film genres. Transportation measures for both films were highly correlated, suggesting that tendency to be transported may be less genre-specific than other dependent measures. Altogether, these results illustrate the usefulness of individual differences approaches in the psychological study of fiction.

Original publication




Journal article


Review of General Psychology

Publication Date





210 - 219