One of my recent research inquiries was inspired by the debate between fans of television shows and movie series about the desirability of spoilers. The project examines the extent to which spoilers and enjoyment is mediated and moderated by personality traits, environmental factors, and message features. This research line started through a collaboration with Benjamin K. Johnson at the University of Florida. Recent publications have also brought in Allison Eden from Michigan State University, .
To date, three studies have been published in collaboration with Benjamin Johnson, while a fourth is in press. The first, a replication of Leavitt and Christenfeld’s 2011 study, found that, contrary to their conclusions, spoilers do impact enjoyment and transportation. This study appeared in Communication Research. The second examined how specific personality traits (need for cognition, need for affect, and fiction reading frequency) moderate the relationship between spoilers and enjoyment. This article was published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.The third study examined the relationship between spoilers and the enjoyment of television and film, and the role played by processing fluency, involvement, need for affect, and need for cognition in this relationship. “(Don’t) Tell me how it ends: Spoilers, enjoyment, and involvement in television and film” appeared in Media Psychology. The fourth study, co-authored with Benjamin Johnson and Allison Eden, looks into the impact of the size and placement of spoilers on the enjoyment of horror films. This study is currently in press with Journal of Media Psychology.
In 2019, I am presenting the latest research on spoilers, reactance, and self-protection, carried out with Morgan Ellithorpe from Michigan State University and Sarah Brookes from SUNY Geneseo at the International Communication Association conference in Washington, DC.
Anne Goodwin published a piece on Benjamin Johnson and my work into spoilers and enjoyment. You can find the piece here.
The Huffington Post presented an overview of spoilers research to date, including an in-depth discussion of our research into need for cognition, need for affect, and the relationship between spoilers and enjoyment. The article can be found here.
Science of Us discusses the contradictory research findings regarding the impact of spoilers and enjoyment, mentioning our research on personality traits and the relationship between spoilers and narrative experience. The article is here.
Convergence published an article mentioned Benjamin Johnson and my recent publication on spoilers, enjoyment, and personality traits. The article can be found here.
The Dutch magazine “Kijk” devoted an article to our 2015 publication that replicated Leavitt and Christenfeld’s 2011 work and found that spoilers do impact enjoyment and transportation. The article (in Dutch) can be found here.