Why some people enjoy ‘Harry Potter’ more than others

Updated: Nov 14, 2011, 11:26 AM IST

Washington: A new study has found that people experience fantasy differently, which explains why some people enjoy it more than others.

According to the study by Russell Webster, a Kansas State University doctoral student in psychology, Sherwood, Ill, people participate in fantasy at different levels of cognitive and emotional intensity, which helps determine how much they enjoy a fantasy book or movie.

“With films like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter,’ there are so many aspects that attract people to them,” Webster said.

“Fantasy is a general framework with which people can work in. You have fantasy, but then you also have action, drama, relationships and other things happening within it.

“If the heart is invested, that’s where the enjoyment comes from.

“What’s also interesting is that while some people reported seeing more vivid images, that doesn’t necessarily determine how emotionally engaged they are or how much they enjoy it,” Webster stated.

This explains why some people find the fantastical images in “Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones” visually appealing but they may not enjoy the movie or show as a whole.

Webster also discovered that even in situations that don’t include fantastical elements, people still inserted fantasy into them.

For instance, when participants higher in fantasy proneness or absorption were imagining the rising sun in his first study, they were more prone to imagine themselves flying.

“They seemed to inject supernatural elements into narratives that don’t involve fantasy,” Webster said.

“This shows that people might try to create their own experiences and their own fantasies in everyday life through daydreaming,” he added.

The finding appears in a recent issue of the journal Imagination, Cognition and Personality.

ANI