Members in the Media
From: The Guardian

Spoilers actually enhance your enjoyment

The Guardian:

Yes! Vindication! I am one of those people who can’t read a book without flicking to the end to check what’s going to happen, and it turns out that, rather than being an “impatient idiot who is spoiling it for myself”, actually I am very wise. Scientists say so, so it must be true.

A study by Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt of UC San Diego’s psychology department, due to be published in the journal Psychological Science, gave subjects 12 short stories, by authors including Agatha Christie, Roald Dahl and John Updike. Some were presented in their classic form, others with spoiler paragraphs, with each version read by at least 30 people. And you know what? The spoiled readers actually had more fun.

“Subjects significantly preferred the spoiled versions of ironic-twist stories, where, for example, it was revealed before reading that a condemned man’s daring escape is all a fantasy before the noose snaps tight around his neck,” the research reveals. “The same held true for mysteries. Knowing ahead of time that Poirot will discover that the apparent target of attempted murder is, in fact, the perpetrator not only didn’t hurt enjoyment of the story but actually improved it.”

Read the whole story: The Guardian

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I disagree. It’s not likely that someone will even start something if it’s been spoiled. But the students weren’t given that choice. When you’re forced to spend time on something, your brain has to make up for the dissonance of lost value, so it creates enjoyment where there might otherwise be none. Psychologists know all about this effect, which would be especially potent if the outcome were known. It’s the same reason that frats do hazing, and religions make you give things up. It’s the entire basis of Stockholm syndrome. Of course, I’d like to have a link to the actual text of the study, but it seems that there’s no real control group here. They should have lied about the endings to some of the students. They should have done the same with sporting events and movies to see how those compared. Why would anyone care that the Olympics are delayed if this were actually true?

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