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Study says spoilers don't ruin stories or films

[ 2011-08-15 10:21]     字号 [] [] []  
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If you tend to get angry when someone spoils the plot of a movie or reveals the ending of a book, you shouldn't.

A new study by researchers from the University of California at San Diego shows spoilers may increase the enjoyment of works of art and entertainment, even of works of suspense.

The researchers studied three types of stories -- those with ironic twists, those that make claims to being high literature and mysteries. The researchers found readers prefer versions that include a paragraph that spoils the ending of a story.

Each story used in the study was read by as many as 30 people and presented in two formats - in both the original version and in one including a paragraph that gives away the ending.

Readers of all three story types preferred the spoiled versions of the stories more than the unspoiled originals.

"Plots are just excuses for great writing," one researcher explained. "Nonetheless, plots are important, like a skeleton or a coat hanger. You need it to display the things that are important, but the plot itself isn't critical."

The researchers said the study, which will be published in the journal Psychological Science, revealed that success in entertainment does not come solely from the ability to provoke a feeling of suspense.

The researchers said that the findings could mean that commonly held notions about suspense may also be incorrect.

"Perhaps," the researchers said in the study, "birthday presents are better when wrapped in cellophane and engagement rings are better when not concealed in chocolate mousse."

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Study says spoilers don't ruin stories or films

About the broadcaster:

Study says spoilers don't ruin stories or films

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.