Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Psychometrics of Mystery Readers?

People with lower self-esteem prefer crime and detective stories that confirm their suspicions in the end, while those with higher self-esteem enjoy stories with surprise endings. This creates a challenge for fiction writers, since we can't know who will buy our books. Then again, we may have to find a way to confirm the guess of the reader with low self esteem while still providing an element of surprise.

“Personality plays a role in whether a person wants to be confirmed or surprised when they read mysteries,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.

“People with low self-esteem like to feel they knew all along who committed the crime, probably because it makes them feel smarter.”

From here:

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