Rebecca S. McEntee of South Dakota State University, Renita Coleman of The University of Texas at Austin and Carolyn Yaschur of Augustana College set out to explore whether the use of “vivid writing” would advance “ethical reasoning” in audiences, with or without an accompanying photo.
Participants in the study read stories about “elder abuse, drug abuse and homelessness.” Each topic featured story versions with vivid writing and without; and with photographs and without.
The study found that “vivid writing” did not, in fact, advance the way people considered issues morally; however, stories with photographs did. “Vivid writing” did enhance readers’ levels of compassion for those in the stories, regardless of whether a photo was included.
To read the full text of the study: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1077699016681467. There is a fee for full access.
Rebecca S. McEntee , Renita Coleman and Carolyn Yaschur Comparing the Effects of Vivid Writing and Photographs on Moral Judgment in Public Relations, Journal & Mass Communication Quarterly 2017, Vol. 94(4) 1011-1030 DOI: 10.1177/1077699016681467.