And believe me, I have not spoiled the series for you, in any case, I´ve just prepared you to have an even more enjoyable viewing of it.
Surprisingly, the study finds that the “spoilers” intensify positively the viewing experience, especially in visual media, although the increase in satisfaction is also visible in books.
But why? What does this mean?
One could argue that there are two types of personalities in the world, those who like spoilers and those who don´t. But really the answer to this behavior lies on a simpler topic.
Once the ending of any plot is revealed, cognitively it is much easier for us to process any information that the plot presents, thereby enhancing our whole understanding of the plot. In other words, the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen to Rick Blaine in Casablanca could cloud our understanding of the whole story as we try both to understand what´s happening while we battle our inner thoughts and guesses. This obviously gets worse when we deal with twisted plot or multiple simultaneous stories (ever needed to watch a second time films such as memento?).
It is important to clarify that this doesn’t mean we are unable to do both things at the same time, but that by knowing already what´s going to happen, we get a better viewing experience as we are able to fully focus on the story.
It may sound counter intuitive, because if spoilers were an experience enhancer product, why would everyone hate spoilers? Why would every article that reveals some kind of vital information on any plot have the so called “spoiler alerts”? Wouldn´t it? But it is for some reason that entertainment giants such as Netflix or Amazon are setting up “spoiler sites” that give away, to those who desire, the twists and turns of any plot.
Executive summaries and abstracts work on a very similar way with academic and business papers, and really, who doesn’t love a good executive summary that gives away the plot of the paper you´re about to read?
Next time you´re preparing an important or difficult report try putting more attention on the executive summary, and watch how satisfaction levels of your audience increase.