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Research Agenda

My background in storytelling has guided the direction of my research; especially the immersive and transportive qualities of narratives. I investigate the relationship that fans have with their fandom including the participatory nature and engagement with specific narratives. Furthermore, much of my research emphasizes how these stories are created in either adaptations or transmedia experiences such as in theme parks. 


Book Chapters

Gatto, K. (2024). Ducks Fly Together: A Look at Disney+ as a Facilitator of Nostalgia and Transportation. In Perlich, J. & Whitt, D. (Eds.) Disney Plus or Minus. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

Gatto K. & Chambless, C. (In progress) Know Who You Are: A Family Systems Theory Approach to the Grandparent Family Dynamic in Disney’s Moana. In Thomas, B. (Ed.) Representations of Parenting and Parenthood in Disney-Animated Films. Lexington Books.

Manuscripts Under Review

Gatto, K. Not So Happily Ever After: A Thematic Analysis of Tweets from the Premiere of Disney’s Enchantment. Journal of Fandom Studies.


Zhao, Y., Gearhart, S., & Gatto, K. Are you doing facial yoga for health or beauty?: Testing the persuasive appeal of message frames on health behavior adoption. Submitted to the British Journal of Health Psychology.

Peer-Reviewed Conference Presentations

Gatto, K. & Perez, C. (March, 2024) I Need Them Back: Social Media Fan Creations During the WGA Writer’s Strike As A Way to Satisfy Parasocial Relationships & Intrinsic Needs. Presented at the Popular/American Culture Association Conference. Chicago, IL. 


Gatto, K. (November, 2023) “It’s Even Better Than I Pictured It”: Sensory Authenticity in Theme Park Design as a Mechanism for Deepened Immersion. Presented at Themed Experiences and Attractions Academic Symposium. Orlando, FL.


Smith, C., Brammer, S., Essary, C. & Gatto, K. (September, 2023) “You Can Be Anything”: STEMinist Barbie through the eyes of real-life women-scientists. Presented at the Global Fusion Conference. Austin, TX. 

Gatto, K. & Zhao, Y. (April, 2023) Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo: The Disney Magic Phenomenon from 100 Years of Fans. Presented at the Popular/American Culture Association Conference. San Antonio, TX.

Gatto, K. (February, 2023) Not So Happily Ever After: A Thematic Analysis of Tweets from the Premiere of Disney’s Enchantment. Presented at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference. Albuquerque, NM.

Gatto, K. & Douglass, P. (October, 2022) The Lost Generation: The Effect of Disney Animated- Film Nostalgia on Adult Disney Identification. Presented on a roundtable on Fandom & Identity at the 2022 Fan Studies Network North America Conference. Virtual.


Gatto, K. & Perez, C. (October, 2022) It all started with a mouse: Intergenerational nostalgia as a facilitator for brand loyalty and experience. Presented to the Disney Studies division at the 2022 Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference. Virtual.


Essary, C., Gatto, K., Wang, S., Goni, A. (March, 2022) The final frontier: A content analysis of Twitter content regarding manned spaceflight. Presented to the Communication Technology division at the 2022 AEJMC Midwinter conference. Norman, OK.

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