Preview of a study coming out in Psychological Science in September:
… a new study found that knowing the outcome doesn’t ruin a story – in fact, it enhances our enjoyment of it.
Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt, of University of California San Diego’s psychology department, say people who flip to the end of the book first have the right idea.
They conducted a series of experiments in which participants read a dozen classic short stories by writers like John Updike, Anton Chekov and Agatha Christie. Some read the stories as-is, some got an introductory spoiler paragraph, and some had the spoiler paragraph incorporated into the story.
Even when the stories contained a plot twist or mystery, the researchers found subjects significantly preferred the spoiled versions.
— Surprise! Spoilers don’t spoil stories, Toronto Sun
Microscope 1, The Expected 0