Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Levine, William

Reader

Plavcan, Joseph

Second Reader

Veilleux, Jennifer

Third Reader

Kayser, Casey

Abstract

The belief that story spoilers are irksome is prevalent in society. However, prior research (Leavitt & Christenfeld, 2011, 2013) has found that spoilers increase enjoyment of short stories, while two follow-up studies (Johnson & Rosenbaum, 2015; Levine, Betzner, & Autry, in press) have failed to confirm these results and, in fact, found the opposite result – that spoilers decrease enjoyment. While these differential results are puzzling, they may be explained by the different spoilers types used in these studies. Therefore, in the present research, we examined whether the discrepant results were due to the spoiler types employed by using all three spoiler types along with an unspoiled condition. We also addressed other methodological differences by using both a single-item and multidimensional measure of enjoyment. Lastly, we examined the role of individual traits, including need for cognition, print exposure, and transportability in moderating the effect of spoilers on enjoyment. We found that spoilers had no significant effect on overall enjoyment, but that some spoilers did significantly decrease suspense, movingness, and lasting impression scores; no spoilers increased enjoyment. The disparities and similarities between our findings and those of prior studies are discussed.

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