Giving away the ending actually makes people like it better

NCBI ROFL: Spoiler alert! Spoilers actually increase enjoyment of stories.
[Via Discoblog]

Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories.

“The enjoyment of fiction through books, television, and movies may depend, in part, on the psychological experience of suspense. Spoilers give away endings before stories begin, and may thereby diminish suspense and impair enjoyment; indeed, as the term suggests, readers go to considerable lengths to avoid prematurely discovering endings … However, people’s ability to reread stories with undiminished pleasure, and to read stories in which the genre strongly implies the ending, suggests that suspense regarding the outcome may not be critical to enjoyment and may even impair pleasure by distracting attention from a story’s relevant details and aesthetic qualities … We conducted three experiments, each with stories from a different, distinct genre, to test the effects of spoilers on enjoyment.

…Writers use their artistry to make stories interesting, to engage readers, and to surprise them, but we found that giving away these surprises makes readers like stories better. This was true whether the spoiler revealed a twist at the end (e.g., that the condemned man’s daring escape is just a fantasy as the rope snaps taut around his neck) or solved the crime (e.g., Poirot discovers that …


This is certainly non-intuituve. And I would imagine that many writers would hate the fact that their carefully crafted twists were better received if people knew about them before hand.

I’m glad NCBI ROFL read this for me. They wanted $35 for me to rad it myself. see, here is a case where spoilers were not only satisfying but also saved me money.

One thought on “Giving away the ending actually makes people like it better

  1. And many people never discover the bliss of re-reading a book by their favorite author because they are brain-washed into throwing them away after one reading. On the second reading, one can discover the pleasure of some of the characters or, in the case of mysteries, the small clues. After all, the classics are re-read and re-read. Of course, it depends on the writing. Too many “authors” today are really bad writers.

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