Real Characters:

The psychology of parasocial relationships with media characters

Edited by Karen E. Shackleford, Ph.D.

Now available in both printed and e-book format (see below for links)

Real Characters explores the unique relationship between viewers and fictional characters in TV, film and social media. Edited by Dr. Karen Shackleford, the book showcases the research of leading scholars and practitioners who understand what fictional characters mean to us from a psychological perspective. As a result of the pandemic, many people have embraced the escapism afforded by streaming services such Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Plus and Disney Plus, strengthening the role that media characters play in their lives. All of us have felt a strong connection to particular stories and characters, whether from literature, films, television, theater, or other media phenomena. The book shows why that is: because these characters serve as models and avatars that prompt us to consider our relationships, our identities and our values.

Today, in an age of streaming video and social media, the role of fictional stories and characters is more pervasive than ever. With 23 contributing authors from universities in the US, Canada and Great Britain, Real Characters is the collaborative product of leading experts in social psychology, media psychology, and communications theory. As such, this book is targeted on a general readership that wants to understand how fictional characters continue to impact our lives. In addition, it is a must-read for any scholar interested in the growing role of parasocial relationships in our media-saturated society.

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Fielding Monograph Series (Book 17)
Paperback: 323 pages
Publisher: Fielding University Press (January 6, 2021)

ISBN-10 : 1647130506
ISBN-13 : 978-1647130503

Real Characters: The psychology of parasocial relationships with media characters