Enter the world of Harry Potter and Twilight's Edward
A study at the University of Buffalo shows that we become submerged enough in the fantasy to satisfy our need for human connection. And we get the same sense of satisfaction and happiness that we’d get if we were actually part of those worlds, said authors Shira Gabriel, an associate professor of psychology, and Ariana Young, a graduate student.
“Social connection is a strong, human need,” Gabriel said in a statement, “and anytime we feel connected to others, we feel good in general, and feel good about our lives. Our study results demonstrate that the assimilation of a narrative allows us to feel close to others in the comfort of our own space and at our own convenience.”
The researchers tested the theory on 140 students who read for 30 minutes from “Happy Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” or “Twilight.” Then they answered questions that tested their conscious and unconscious responses.
Harry Potter readers identified with wizards and their world and Twilight readers identified with vampires and their world. They also adopted attitudes and behaviors – though no one tried to suck blood or fly on a broom, they noted.
The study, called Becoming a Vampire Without Being Bitten: The Narrative Collective Assimilation Hypothesis, was published in the current issue journal Psychological Science.
So, do you believe you are a wizard or a vampire, or just friends with one?