Journal article Open Access

'Men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross': Gender differences in shared-religion bias in identifying with fictional characters

Nathan Hook & Wakefield L. Morys-Carter

This experimental research investigated if men and/or women have an own-religion bias in their strength of identification with fictional characters. Past research on this topic in psychology, literary studies, and game studies is limited and the expectations from identity theory are unclear. A hypertext fiction story game was used as an experimental stimulus, slightly modified for different participant groups. Almost 400 participants took part and ANOVA analysis carried out. The novel surprising results found no strong evidence of own-religion bias in identification for either gender but did produce good evidence of gender bias in identification. This reveals new complexities in identification research and suggests models from social identity theory may not generalise to identification, with practical application for informing literary creation.

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