There are studies such as this where people report that spoilers increase enjoyment for narrative works.

According to research by UC San Diego psychology professor Nicholas Christenfeld, spoilers don’t ruin a story: They make you enjoy it even more.

My common sense tells me if the majority of people really held a consensus that spoilers improved people's enjoyment then we'd all just read plot summaries for every movie, tv show, comic etc. before experiencing them.

What is the scientific consensus, if any, on this matter?

Papers referenced in the article:

Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories (2011)

The fluency of spoilers: Why giving away endings improves stories (2013)

  • 7
    I can tell you that without spoilers many aircraft landings would be far more unpleasant. Jan 28 '19 at 3:17
  • 1
    IMO, too many story tellers introduce so much excessive complexity into their tails -- plot twists, secrets, lack of chronology, etc -- that any kind of spoiler helps my understanding and enjoyment of the story.
    – Martin F
    Feb 2 '19 at 0:38
  • i feel spoilers stop you from having the desired path or attachment designed by the developer or writer.if you know some character is going to die you will spend more time on trying to see that coming and not enjoying the story as much. but sometimes spoilers if used right definitely increases user experience Feb 3 '19 at 11:45
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    I feel like this would at least partially get skewed by the style of the particular work people are considering. Some stories employ types of foreshadowing where knowing what happens isn't always detrimental. Consider that people will often watch complicated movies or read complicated stories several times to try to make more sense of them.
    – JMac
    Feb 4 '19 at 15:38
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    This was edited out of my post, but a hypothesis I've been toying around with is that people would rather feel like their time/experience wasn't wasted/diminished by their own lack of attention or insatiable curiosity, a.k.a. even though they made a mistake (reading spoilers) they want to "believe" that it "wasn't really a mistake". Hence, in order for their thinking to be congruent (get rid of cognitive dissonance, etc.) they attempt to convince themselves, in particular via this study, that the spoilers made things more enjoyable.
    – Max Li
    Feb 26 '19 at 4:58

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