Are there any book characters you’d want to hang out with? Any character on TV? In a movie? Have you ever felt sad when a fictional character gets hurt? Do you root for your favorite characters, even though you know you can’t affect the action of the plot? Have you ever yelled at the TV even though you know the actors can’t hear you?
Your answer to at least one of these questions is probably “yes,” says psychologist and writer Jennifer Barnes at TEDxOU. People “spend time” with fictional characters just like they do with “real life” friends, she says, and that time matters.
Barnes has looked at this time — the development of relationships with fictional characters — and studied how a small group of people felt about and responded to the imagined loss of a real person versus a fictional character. The results may surprise you.
For more, watch Barnes’s whole talk below:
Insight from the TEDx office — why we like this talk:
Here at TED, we spend lot of our free time interacting with all kinds of ideas and people, some of which aren’t necessarily existing IRL (“in real life”). The speaker — a university professor and psychologist — combines insights from the study of psychology, media, and literature to show how this commitment to those who do not exist actually affects us, emotionally and socially.