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Parasocial Relationships

Parasocial interactions and parasocial relationships constitute a form of involvement with media personae that entails the experience of intimacy and companionship with media figures. This entry discusses such parasocial bonds and summarizes research into whether they lead to selective exposure to and learning from media violence.

The term parasocial interactions was first introduced in 1956 by Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl. They noted that some television viewers engage in one-direction, quasi-social interactions with media performers. Parasocial interactions refer to viewers’ experiences during media exposure, but over time, parasocial interactions can grow into parasocial relationships that endure across multiple media encounters and can persist outside the context of media exposure. As such, parasocial relationships constitute the mediated equivalent of social relationships. Empirical research has drawn many ...

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