View Full Version : Movie Spoilers

April 29th, 2013, 2:51 PM
According to a study by Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt of UC San Diego's psychology department that was published in an issu eof Psychological Science, spoilers do not ruin movies or books, but rather the entire opposite - they might even enhance how we enjoy the piece of entertainment.

People who flip to the last page of a book before starting it have the better intuition. Spoilers don’t spoil stories. Contrary to popular wisdom, they actually seem to enhance enjoyment. Even ironic-twist and mystery stories – which you’d be forgiven for assuming absolutely depend on suspense or surprise for success – aren’t spoiled by spoilers.

...Christenfeld and Leavitt ran three experiments with a total of 12 short stories. Three types of stories were studied: ironic-twist, mystery and literary. Each story – classics by the likes of John Updike, Roald Dahl, Anton Chekhov, Agatha Christie and Raymond Carver – was presented as-is (without a spoiler), with a prefatory spoiler paragraph or with that same paragraph incorporated into the story as though it were a part of it. Each version of each story was read by at least 30 subjects. Data from subjects who had read the stories previously were excluded.

Subjects significantly preferred the spoiled versions of ironic-twist stories, where, for example, it was revealed before reading that a condemned man’s daring escape is all a fantasy before the noose snaps tight around his neck.You can read the full article here (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/spoiler-alert-stories-are-not-spoiled-byspoilers.html).

What do you think? If a movie you've been wanting to see for awhile or a mystery book you've been slowly reading and enjoying was suddenly spoiled, how would you feel? What about if you saw it anyway/kept reading and you still enjoyed it? Do you think this study's results are true in most cases?

Sweets Witch
April 29th, 2013, 7:54 PM
I've always had a love/hate relationship with spoilers because on the one hand I want to experience things for myself and have genuine reactions to plot twists, but on the other hand I might completely overlook something or not even understand it until I have it explained. But the risk of spoiling something for myself solely to understand it when I reach it comes at the price of losing my motivation to even experience it in the first place.

It's a whole risk vs reward ordeal for me, and it's different for each source of media. Usually it's based on the amount of time spent experiencing it. From least bothering to most, the list goes:

>Movies since they're a set amount of time and it's not enough to really let me bond with the characters to the point where I'd get emotional if they were affected by a plot twist.

>Video games, which could possibly take the longest but the gameplay in between cutscenes lessens the impact of the plot

>Book spoilers are generally a no-no for me since everything I read takes place in my imagination and I prefer having my imagination interpret key moments on its own, but I still don't mind them as much as the next two

>TV show spoilers SUCK, especially with longer shows. I have no desire to continue a show if someone spoils the climax or ending for me, but I'll do it anyway just to say I completed it

>Visual novel spoilers are the Devil and if you spoil a VN for me then I will hunt you down and BURN YOU AT THE STAKE. VNs take me a pretty long time to complete and the mix of the music and writing builds a scene so much more vividly than anything else I've ever experienced. VNs take me days, if not weeks, to complete and I get violent when people spoil them for me because it feels like I wasted so much time looking forward to something only to have some jackass open their mouth.

But yeah, sometimes I'll look up spoilers just to clarify my understanding if I feel that the material won't be clear enough.

April 29th, 2013, 10:14 PM
I can and will block, defriend and report anyone who spoils a movie for me. Books, I'm not that fussed about because I sorta like knowing what's coming. It makes the literature richer as you can detect any hints or motifs that represent the ultimate fate of the character. It also makes the tragic death of a character that more tragic, as you know that all that he or she does to fight against the forces that be will ultimately come to mean nothing. But seriously, don't spoil a movie or forever or I will probably kill you.

April 30th, 2013, 11:28 AM
I question the conclusion of that study. Having the last part of a book presented in the middle of the story isn't a spoiler if the person reading it doesn't know it's a spoiler. There are plenty of non-linear stories that give you the "ending" before the actual end. The enjoyment there isn't in just knowing the ending, but knowing it while reading the rest of the story, and in those kinds of stories they're written with the knowledge that the audience is going to know something ahead of time and that changes how it's written.

The fact that the study used known authors who are widely regarded as good writers skews the results even more since you're just as likely to enjoy the writing - that is, the experience of reading it - as you are the story itself. I would like to see this experiment done with, let's say, the writings of a college creative writing class where the quality isn't necessarily as good or consistent and see if knowing the ending ahead of time makes people like those versions better.

Captain Gizmo
April 30th, 2013, 3:09 PM
I don't like spoilers, I like to be surprised and not knowing what's coming up next. Gives some tension building up for the climax of the stories. I'm subscribed to tons of movie reviewers on Youtube and I don't even watch their videos until I see the movies they're talking about. Because those reviews might or might not contain spoilers. I prefer not taking the chance.

May 2nd, 2013, 8:33 AM
Our greatest stories, the ones passed down through the generations, have well-known outcomes. The study's finding seems entirely reasonable, whether or not it is correct.

I myself don't care about most spoilers, possibly because I don't care about most stories.

Mr Cat Dog
June 1st, 2013, 5:29 AM
As much as I'd like to not be spoiled whenever it can be helped, I do think that people put a bit too much emphasis on the negative effects of being spoiled (be it accidentally on purposes). The times where I've obsessed over getting spoiled have often resulted in me not liking the eventual work; where I've been a bit more laissez-faire after a spoiler, and not thought a great deal about it, I often end up either forgetting about it, or just accepting the spoiler as part and and parcel of the viewing experience. Indeed, if a piece of entertainment can be 'ruined' by a single spoiler, was there really much else of substance left in the art?

June 1st, 2013, 6:13 AM
I don't mind movie spoilers actually, most of the time you can guess the outcome of a movie from the first few minutes (mostly: good guys win!).

TV spoilers however are unforgivable. I think it's probably because of the investment you make watching a tv show - a normal season is easily 10 episodes long, sometimes more.

A good example would be with Game of Thrones, where there are potential spoilers everywhere because the books are so far ahead. If someone went to me, "oh this character dies," I would probably lose interest... Of course there might be some differences and they could be completely wrong - but it's the principle :P.

The more investment in the show/series/movie the more devastating spoilers are.

June 1st, 2013, 10:55 AM
I guess it's a case to case thing for me. I just started playing a video game that I had instantly fallen in love with, but I got spoiled pretty early on that a character that I loved was going to die near the end of the game. At first I was upset at the high heavens and I was trying to bring down a plague of frogs on his household and family, but the odd thing is, it actually increased my interest in the games plot, because now I wanted to know how and exactly when...so I guess in that case it work well. I guess in that situation it's similar to the trick in all mediums where you start your work with the ending and/or significant point/tragedy in the story.

That being said on the other hand, there are a few movies and tv shows I've seen in my time that spoilers would ruin the entire concept. Fight Club is a huge one. Brazil would be another. I know for a fact that if Fight Club gets spoiled for you, it isn't nearly as good of a movie. I've spoiled the ending after a miss-communication with a friend one evening, and he still hates me for it. (I don't blame him >_>)

June 1st, 2013, 10:58 AM
River Song's got the right idea. You better not give me any spoilers or....well the things I would do to you can't be spoken of in such a place. I don't care what medium it is.

June 1st, 2013, 11:04 AM
I HATE movie spoilers. However, I love book spoilers. I don't know why.

I always skip ahead to the end before I read a book and then read the end. Usually I am utterly confused, but it makes me want to read more.

So I guess in a way the study is true.