Plot Spoilers and Your Enjoyment of 'Star Wars'

Posted on December 26, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

The much-anticipated film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" opens; if you're not already waiting in line to see the very first screenings, you might be worried about spoilers ruining the experience.

And now you've got science to support your fears. A recent study found that spoilers — or giving away key plot details — may not ruin an experience entirely, but can reduce suspense and decrease overall enjoyment. "Our study is the first to show that people's widespread beliefs about spoilers being harmful are actually well-founded and not a myth," the study's corresponding author, Benjamin Johnson.

Johnson and his colleagues asked 412 university students to read several short stories that they had never seen before. Before reading, the students were given summaries, some of which revealed spoilers. The students then rated the stories, describing whether or not they found the tales engaging, moving and suspenseful.

Results of an earlier 2011 study by the same researchers somewhat unexpectedly suggested that people actually enjoy an experience more at least some of the time after hearing spoilers.

Their recent research however, showed the opposite. In the new study, stories that had been "spoiled" were rated as less moving, less thought provoking, and less successful at drawing the reader into a narrative world and providing an immersive experience. In fact, the effects of story spoilers were "consistently negative," Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson was quick to add that the study also discovered some good news about spoilers: They're not as bad as some people think they are. Even if, in spite of all your efforts, you hear some vital detail before you're ready, you'll still get plenty of satisfaction from your experience with the story, the researchers learned. Still, he warned, people shouldn't take this as a go-ahead to spoil stories for others, as spoilers can and do negatively affect people's experiences.

This article was adapted from the link below.


Source material from Live Science

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