Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Committee Member

David E. Copeland, Chair

Second Committee Member

Mark H. Ashcraft

Third Committee Member

Murray G. Millar

Graduate Faculty Representative

Joseph M. Valenzano, III

Number of Pages



The overarching aim of this research was to examine potential boundary conditions to situation model construction (Experiment 1) and narrative-based persuasion (Experiment 3). Variables such as narrative perspective (i.e., 2nd or 3rd person) and matched characteristics with the reader (i.e., participant-protagonist gender match) were first examined using situation model updating (Experiment 1) and behavioral measures (Experiment 3) as dependent measures. It was expected that situation model updating would be more likely for narratives written in the 2nd person perspective and with a participant-protagonist gender match. It was uncertain, however, for health promotion narratives, whether these manipulations would increase the likelihood that readers would be persuaded by a story and take informative pamphlets and coupons for samples of sunscreen. The findings of Experiment 1 did not reveal greater situation model updating for 2nd person matched narratives. Further examination of the stimuli used in the first experiment (Experiment 2) suggested that, relative to past research, while there was greater interest in the stories, there was less imaginability (i.e., picturing oneself as the protagonist). This pattern suggests that while interest in the story content may engage readers for a 3rd person perspective (i.e., he or she), other factors are necessary for engagement for a 2nd person perspective (i.e., you). For example, in the latter perspective, it may be that readers must relate to a character's behavior through actual personal experience before being able to imagine themselves in the story. These insights were applied to the tailoring of a health narrative concerning melanoma and the use of sunscreen in Experiment 3. Participants in Experiment 3 showed a greater likelihood of information seeking and behavioral intentions (e.g., taking pamphlets and coupons for sunscreen) for the 2nd person perspective regardless of whether there was a participant-protagonist gender match.


Gender; Health promotion; Melanoma; Narration (Rhetoric); Narrative persuasion; Narratives; Persuasion (Rhetoric); Situation models; Skin – Cancer – Prevention; Sunscreens (Cosmetics)


Cognitive Psychology | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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