Amazing but true
A preference for fiction-like non-fiction
People find it important to know if a story is factual, but still the most popular stories, in such forms as books and movies, are fictional. Research suggests that a story being true may add value to the reader’s experience, but other findings suggest that fiction may increase enjoyment by providing fewer disruptions to narrative comprehension. In three studies we explored the appeal of stories when they are presented as fiction or as non-fiction. Subjects read (1) story synopses, (2) vignettes from two popular websites, or (3) narratives on relationships and war. Results indicate that readers preferred stories when they were presented, externally, as non-fiction. Readers also preferred stories that seemed internally — that is, because of how they were written — like fiction. Additionally the results suggested that readers rely more heavily on factual stories to update their notions of reality. This study contributes to a body of literature on reader enjoyment in relation to truth labels made explicit or implicit in narratives as well as on the efficacy of arts-based research.
Keywords: non-fiction, fiction, narrative, reading enjoyment
Published online: 30 March 2015
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Cited by 1 other publications
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