May the odds be ever in your favor: The Hunger Games and the fight for a more equal society. (Negative) Media vicarious contact and collective action
Vezzali L., McKeown S., McCauley P., Stathi S., Di Bernardo GA., Cadamuro A., Cozzolino V., Trifiletti E.
Various studies have found that reading books about positive interactions between ingroup and outgroup characters, known as media vicarious contact, can reduce prejudice. Focusing on the fantasy saga of The Hunger Games, we examined the effects of negative vicarious contact on collective action across two studies. Specifically, we tested whether reading about fantasy characters living in a postapocalyptic conflictual society with large social disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged groups leads advantaged group members to display greater willingness to engage in collective action on behalf of the disadvantaged group. Results from Study 1 (correlational survey in the United Kingdom and United States) and Study 2 (experimental intervention in Italy) revealed that reading The Hunger Games is indirectly associated with greater collective action intentions via increased anger toward injustice. In both studies social dominance orientation (SDO) acted as a moderator, but in opposite directions: mediation was significant for low-SDOs in Study 1, and for high-SDOs in Study 2. Results are discussed in relation to the importance of media vicarious contact via book reading for social change, and to the need to identify the contextual conditions allowing to anticipate the specific moderation pattern that is more likely to emerge.