Articles quote Rosenbaum, feature her research on spoilers
Articles by Forbes, MTV and The Indian Express featured research on spoilers by Judith Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine. Along with Benjamin Johnson of the University of Florida, Rosenbaum published a 2015 study that found spoilers had small negative impacts on enjoyment of a narrative, appreciation of the story and the feeling of being immersed in a fictional world. This contradicted previous studies by others who found that “story spoilers don’t spoil stories,” according to Forbes. The pair’s 2017 study found that people who were exposed to “Game of Thrones” spoilers enjoyed the Season 5 storyline more than those who were not, according to MTV. “That is connected to the idea of mental models — how you make sense of characters in a storyline,” said Rosenbaum. “Sometimes spoilers can help you build a mental model that makes it easier to process what’s going on, and that increases your enjoyment of the show.” Rosenbaum found that in general, fantasy stories, including Marvel movies, tend to be enjoyed more when they’re spoiled. She also found that sometimes people use spoilers as an emotional shield. “Sometimes you get really invested in a character and you’re worried that if something bad’s going to happen to that character, the emotional effect will be too overwhelming,” said Rosenbaum. Johnson and Rosenbaum also published a 2018 study in which people were shown movie posters with a synopsis of the movie’s plot that either did or did not contain spoilers. The reaction that stood out — a movie poster that contained plot details made people slightly more annoyed than a poster that did not, Forbes reported. The same study did not find any impact of spoilers on enjoyment when the medium was audiovisual, for example, video clips from a show or film. The study furthered the idea that the science of spoilers is nuanced, and that their impact is never fully captured through research. “Honestly, if you go look for spoilers, they probably won’t hurt your enjoyment,” said Rosenbaum.