I think the blanket statement “spoilers are okay” is wrong.
The study follows students reading stories.
Were the students looking forward to the stories? Is there a difference between reading and viewing? What if the folks were only reading the stories to participate in the study, and didn’t want to read them? Doesn’t it matter that the literature used is so old that it is considered common knowledge? With new movies, we’re talking about things nobody knows about yet.
Finally, if the study compared three groups:
- Avid movie watchers who are looking forward to a movie based on director, theme, series, actors but who know absolutely nothing about the movie otherwise. They watch it once without spoilers.
- Avid movie watchers who are looking forward to a movie based on director, theme, series, actors but who know absolutely nothing about the movie otherwise. They watch it once with spoilers.
Then, from each cohort, you measure enjoyment and ask them if they want to watch the movie again.
Then you measure their enjoyment on the second viewing.
This would be valuable from a movie production company basis and also a viewer enjoyment basis.
You’d need to do movies across a variety of genres: I crave spoilers from some action films, but I hate them from movies with a twist.
I believe this would produce different results than the study