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May 11, 2011

Enter the world of Harry Potter and Twilight's Edward

We connect so much with our book friends Harry Potter and Edward when we read about them that we, psychologically speaking, become wizards and vampires, according to new research.

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?

Posted by Meredith Cohn at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mental health

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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