What do we do with a story’s end, when reading in a book? Since we know where to find a tale’s finale, how often do readers page ahead to relieve suspense (or boredom)? A new study finds we love being spoiled.
Two California instructors assigned a variety of short stories to a group of students, then surveyed them about reading habits. Readers answered if they read a tale’s ending before it was due, then assessed their pleasure at the entire story experience. Result?
almost every single story, regardless of genre, was more pleasurable when prefaced with a spoiler.
I wonder how this has changed over time. But it does explain our love of repetitive, predictive stories: our interest being in the details of the story’s unfolding, not its outcome.