Ugh, spoilers. They’re the worst (even when they include top-secret info regarding Rory’s love life on Gilmore Girls), right? Welllllll, not so fast. According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, there’s no need to freak when that next Game of Thrones spoiler hits your newsfeed (speaking of which, have you SEEN Kit Harrington sans beard?). In fact, it may actually enhance your enjoyment of the story.
Using 12 short stories as the basis for three sets of experiments, researchers studied ironic-twist, mystery and literary stories. Each of the stories was presented to a group of at least 30 people in three separate manners — one without spoilers, one with a blatant spoiler paragraph and one with a spoiler paragraph slyly worked into the story.
According to the findings, subjects in all three groups actually preferred the spoiled versions of the story when presented independently of the unspoiled versions. Inttterrrrresssting.
According to the researchers, the reason may be as simple as the old adage, “It’s not the journey, it’s the destination.” Some theorized that perhaps the writing itself was so great, the actual plot wasn’t necessary to enjoy the story.
Others suggested that perhaps knowing the story ahead of time simply took out the stress of guessing. “[…It could be that] once you know how it turns out, it’s cognitively easier — you’re more comfortable processing the information — and [you] can focus on a deeper understanding of the story,” researcher Jonathan Leavitt says. Oh, we definitely know that sense of stressful anticipation when we’re watching a scary movie.
So spoilers: not that big of a deal. Who would’ve thunk? While we can’t say we’ll be reading our novels back to front from here on out, we might not be so touchy the next time our coworker spills the beans about OITNB on accident (but really, please don’t — we’re only on episode five!).
Will you be more inclined to read spoilers from here on out? Let us know over @BritandCo!
(h/t Elite Daily, photos via Getty)