Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

True Story? Men Prefer 'Chick Flicks' When They Are Explicitly Fictionalized

Date:
January 10, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Characterized by a heart-tugging plot, emotional melodrama fosters deep emotional reactions on the part of the consumer. Often labeled "chick-flicks," "tearjerkers," or "human interest stories," the genre has received scant academic attention. New research finds a significant difference between how men and women view stories about protagonists who overcome challenges through sacrifice and bravery. While women prefer stories that seem to be true, men enjoyed stories more when they were specifically told that they are fictionalized.

Characterized by a heart-tugging plot, emotional melodrama is a subtype of dramatic entertainment that fosters deep emotional reactions on the part of the consumer. Often labelled "chick-flicks," "tearjerkers," or "human interest stories," the importance of this form of entertainment is underscored by the popularity and success of movies like Titanic and the "Oprah Winfrey Show." However, despite the apparent popularity of melodramatic entertainment, scant academic attention has been paid to the genre.

Related Articles


Now, new research examines emotional melodrama and finds a significant difference between how men and women view stories about protagonists who overcome challenges through sacrifice and bravery. While women tended to prefer stories that seem to be true, men enjoyed stories more when they were specifically told that they are fictionalized.

"Providing explicit information that the story is make-believe may have enabled low empathizers (males in this case) to relax emotion norms and become more involved in the story, in turn resulting in more favorable evaluations of the entertainment," explain Jennifer J. Argo (University of Alberta), Rui (Juliet) Zhu and Darren W. Dahl (both University of British Columbia). "The more empathetic a person is, the more s/he will be involved and immersed into the story and transported into the world of the narrative."

In fact, the researchers found that men were less likely to endorse gender stereotypes, such as "men should not cry," when they thought the story was fictitious versus true, supporting this idea that they were temporarily discarding social norms and allowing themselves to enjoy the story, according to the researchers.

"At a practical level our research findings speak to an increasingly popular trend in the entertainment industry wherein publishers and producers indicate at the outset of the story or program its level of fictionality (i.e., whether it is based on actual facts)," the researchers write. "Signaling the nature of the fictionality of a story or program may be one possible way of targeting specific segments in audiences."

Jennifer J. Argo, Rui (Juliet) Zhu and Darren W. Dahl, "Fact or Fiction: An Investigation of Empathy Differences in Response to emotional Melodramatic Entertainment." Journal of Consumer Research: February 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "True Story? Men Prefer 'Chick Flicks' When They Are Explicitly Fictionalized." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108140141.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, January 10). True Story? Men Prefer 'Chick Flicks' When They Are Explicitly Fictionalized. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108140141.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "True Story? Men Prefer 'Chick Flicks' When They Are Explicitly Fictionalized." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108140141.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins