Washington, Jan 9: Contrary to popular opinion, men too enjoy 'chick flicks' i.e. movies that are of human interest. However, they are more likely to watch an emotional melodrama for entertainment if they were specifically told that these programmes are fictionalised, says a study.
The new study examined the emotional melodrama that shows the protagonists overcoming their challenges through sacrifice and bravery.
They found that women tend to prefer stories that seem to be true but men enjoyed stories more when they were explicitly told that the stories were imaginary.
"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 favourable evaluations of the entertainment," explain Jennifer J. Argo of University of Alberta.
"The more empathetic a person is, the more he/she will be involved and immersed into the story and transported into the world of the narrative," said the researchers.
The team also included Rui (Juliet) Zhu and Darren W. Dahl from University of British Columbia.
They also found that men were less likely to support gender stereotypes, such as "men should not cry," when they thought the story was fictitious versus true, endorsing this idea that they were temporarily discarding social norms and allowing themselves to enjoy the story.
"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)," wrote the researchers.
"Signalling the nature of the fictionality of a story or program may be one possible way of targeting specific segments in audiences," they added.
The study appears in the Journal of Consumer Research (ANI)
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