Centre for the Study of Group Processes

Centre for the Study of Group Processes

Arts and Prosocial behaviour Research Group (APRG)

The APRG is an initiative of the Centre for the Study of Group Processes, and was launched in collaboration with People United, an organisation that aims to spread kindness via arts participation. The APRG is a branch of Grouplab, and part of the School of Psychology at the University of Kent.

Upcoming event

Narrative arts, prosocial messages and emotion-centred communication: A multimodal and transmedial approach

Speaker: Dr Chiao-I Tseng, University of Bremen
Date: Monday 29 October, 12.00-14.00  Location:Keynes L1.09

Prosocial messages such as information about poverty, health/illness, victims of war and social injustice, etc. are narratives constructed with an aim to trigger empathy-related emotions in the audiences and readers, to enhance people’s interests in social issues and to promote people’s participation in social political activities. In recent years, a growing body of empirical research has focused on studying empathy in narrative media with a focus on testing narrative effects, namely, the impact triggered by people’s overall exposure to prosocial messages (Moyer-Guse & Nabi 2009, Bartsch et al 2018). Despite empirical advances in studying the narrative exposure and impact, it is not yet known just how formal elements and content structures in narratives are correlated to prosocial effects, information truthfulness, emotional engagement and persuasive functions.

This talk will present an ongoing research project on multimodal and transmedial approach to prosocial messages in narrative arts. Multimodal methods (Tseng et al 2018) provide systematic analysis of how particular structures of events and character developments lead the readers’/viewers’ to certain narrative interpretation paths. Transmedial comparative research contributes to crucial understanding of how certain prosocial communicative strategies can be more effectively mobilised by maximising the benefits of particular media affordances (Tseng & Bateman, 2018).

Through systematically comparing cross-media narratives of similar prosocial themes in films, graphic novels and empathy games, this talk will show the strength of multimodal and transmedial approach in effectively connecting the form/function of narrative mechanisms to the empirical results of narrative immersion, persuasive and learning effects.


The APRG is a pioneering multi-disciplinary research group that meets monthly to discuss and disseminate ideas exploring the impact of the arts on prosocial attitudes and behaviours (behaviours that benefit others or increase the welfare of others). Hosted and led by Professor Dominic Abrams from the Centre for the Study of Group Processes, the group draws on expertise from across the academic and voluntary sectors.

The research group aims to provide a platform to explore the role of the arts in influencing attitudes and actions, to foster collaborations, and to discuss how evidencing the impact of the arts on prosocial behaviour can be used to influence policy and practice across disciplines.


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Last Updated: 08/10/2018