Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alerts Don't Matter, Says Study
No one knows better than bloggers the kind of wrath that can be incurred by not properly noting that a post contains a spoiler, be it the end of a movie or a twist in a TV show. But a recent study out of UC San Diego suggests that spoiler alerts may be for naught -- according to a statement released by the university, researchers found that the pleasure people get from reading or watching something isn't diminished by knowing what's going to happen in the end. In fact, their pleasure may be enhanced.
In the study, conducted by Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt of UC San Diego's psychology department, participants read suspenseful stories or stories with a twist, and researchers either told them what would happen or let them find out on their own. They found that overwhelmingly, subjects enjoyed the narrative more when they knew in advance how it would all play out.
The researchers theorized that this may be the case in part because great stories depend on the talent of the author, not clever twists.
“Plots are just excuses for great writing. What the plot is is (almost) irrelevant. The pleasure is in the writing,” said Christenfeld. “Monet’s paintings aren’t really about water lilies."
Or, it may be that without the distraction of wondering what will come next, more attention can be devoted to the subtler aspects of the text.
"...once you know how it turns out, it’s cognitively easier — you’re more comfortable processing the information — and can focus on a deeper understanding of the story," said Leavitt.
So, what does that mean for us? Well...maybe we'll do you the favor of never providing spoiler alerts, ever again. Because it's for your own good.