ERIC Number: ED245949
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Effects of Context vs. Substance in Stories Portraying Moral Behavior.
Eisley, Mark E.; Merrill, Paul F.
Examined were the effects of story elements in teaching moral concepts to college freshmen and sophomores. The two story elements studied were (1) context (descriptions of observable circumstances and observable actions) and (2) substance (descriptions of the internal character, feelings, desires, and beliefs of the actor). A total of 59 students were asked to read various versions of stories and rate (1) how impressed they were with the account, (2) how they perceived the main character in the story, and (3) how much the account made them feel inclined to be more virtuous. Latin squares and matched sample designs were used in the research design. Findings include the following. Substance alone and context alone produced perceptions of similar levels of human virtues in main characters. However, the addition of context to substance increased story receivers' ability to perceive virtue in a character more than the addition of substance to context. Accounts containing only context were more impressive than those containing only substance. Making both elements explicit in the same story improved its impressiveness as well as its motivating power. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Story Structure
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 1984).