Reading Spoilers About Book, Film Or TV Series May Enhance Your Viewing

Written by Michael Lambarde on Aug. 13, 2011

When a friend of yours intentionally or accidentally spoils the end of the movie you were planning to watch, it may not ruin your experience, according to a new study done by researchers from the University of California at San Diego.

In fact, they believe that reading spoilers or accidentally hearing them may enhance the experience of the book, movie, or television series, for example.

Researchers Nicholas Christenfield and Jonathan Leavitt showed undergraduates at the University three different versions of the same short stories — with one of the short stories revealing the ending at the end, one revealing the ending in the middle, and another having the ending at the prologue.

Much to the surprise of the researchers, all but one of the 12 different stories that had the mis-match of endings plotted throughout the book preferred reading the stories that had spoilers embedded in either the beginning or middle rather than what is typical — the ending.

“I was quite surprised by the results,” Christenfeld said about the results of the study. “Like most people, I don’t turn to the end of a book to see who dies or what happens.”

He added, “Plots are just excuses for great writing. 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.”

Christenfield also believes that the same can be said for movies and television shows.