Spoilers Are A Good Thing?
I just finished reading an article about spoilers and I have an interesting insight I wanted to share. The article was about what makes a great experience when either listening to or reading a story, and if knowing the ending makes the experience better. I know for myself, one of my favourite parts of a good story is the ending, (I’m sure there are others that agree). I go through great lengths to make sure I don’t overhear the ending, or read a review accidently. However, when the unfortunate event occurs and I end up overhearing the end before I get there, I can’t help but feel my experience has undoubtedly been spoiled.
But has the experience truly been spoiled? According to the latest research published in the Journal of Psychological Science, it shows that “knowing the ending of a story before you read it doesn’t hurt the experience of the story. It actually makes you enjoy the story more.” This is what the article coined as the “Spoiler Paradox”.
Enjoy it more? How does that make any sense?
Easy. Storytelling fulfills a basic human function. Stories are an important tool to help us understand human behaviors and to communicate our understanding to others. We have the ability to attribute thoughts, desires, motivations and intentions of others, and we use this to predict and explain actions and behaviors of others in stories. That’s why it’s argued a “spoiled” story, that we know the ending to beforehand, is more engaging than stories that leave us hanging. Spoiled stories are also easier to follow and understand because we know what is to come. When you don’t know the ending to a story, you might find yourself paying attention to details that may not even be relevant.
So, with all this said and done, which side do you find yourselves on? After all, a spoiler may not be a spoiler, just a great way to simplify a complex story, who wouldn’t want that!
To read about the experiments that were conducted, check out the full article here.