Fictional Tearjerkers Can Be Powerful as True Stories

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whether they want to admit it or not, just about everybody at one time has gotten a little choked up watching a movie that pulls on the heart strings.

However, the assumption that a true story carries more of an emotional wallop than a fictional tale is wrong, according to researchers at Brandeis University and NYU.

For instance, people who want to avoid getting upset may decide to read a fictional book filled with tragedy because they figure it won’t affect them nearly as much as a tragic true-life story.

Yet, what the researchers discovered was that “fictional nature does not alter the impact of the tragic story, leaving them more emotionally distraught than if they had read the true story instead.”

If that indeed is the case, then movie producers and book publishers should greenlight more fictional stories.

Although sales of true stories may be stronger, the researchers contend realism “does not necessarily increase satisfaction.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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