Narrative Believability Scale (NBS-12)

The narrative believability scale (hereafter “NBS-12”) was designed to measure the constructs specified in the story model (Pennington & Hastie, 1991) that determine acceptance or rejection of a given narrative in terms of its persuasive impact: coverage, completeness, consistency, and plausibility.

Most items are 7-point Likert-type items with anchor points 1 = Strongly Disagree, 7 = Strongly Agree.


  • I believe this story could be true.
  • This story was plausible.
  • This story seems to be true.


  • It was easy to follow the story from beginning to end.
  • It was hard to follow this story.a
  • If I were writing this story, I would have organized it differently.a


  • The information presented in this story was consistent.
  • All of the facts in this story agreed with each other.
  • The "consistency" of a story refers to the extent to which a story does not contradict itself or contradict other things you know to be true or false. How would you rate this story in terms of "consistency"?b


  • There was important information missing from this story.a
  • There were lots of “holes” in this story.a
  • The "coverage" of a story refers to the extent to which the story accounts for all of the information presented in the story. How would you rate this story in terms of "coverage"?b


aItem should be reverse-scored.

b7-point item with anchor points 1 = Very Low, 7 = Very High.


Cite as:

Yale, R.N. (2013). Measuring narrative believability: Development and validation of the narrative believability scale (NBS-12). Journal of Communication, 63(3), 578-599. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12035