Reduced counterarguing–the generation of questions and arguments in response to a message–has been proposed to be a mechanism of persuasion in a variety of contexts, yet many questions remain unanswered regarding the factors that influence this process. Building upon past theorizing in narrative persuasion, this present work investigates whether signaling of persuasive intent (signaling vs. no signaling) and the fictional presentation of texts (fact vs. fiction) decrease counterarguing and, in turn, increase persuasion. Using a 2 × 2 factorial design across four topics at three time points, hypotheses were tested with narratives regarding four controversial political issues, presented either with or without signaling of persuasive intent and in either a news or short fiction format. The online experiment demonstrated that the narratives impacted political attitudes, even when captured in a later follow-up session. However, neither persuasive signaling nor fictional presentation influenced counterarguing or the extent of attitude change, captured both immediately after narrative exposure and again in a follow-up survey two days later.
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