1. Truth in fiction -- 2. It matters : finding meaning in stories -- 3. On actors and their roles : the social psychology of narrative person perception -- 4. Mental models of fiction : the mechanics of getting lost in a story -- 5. The timelessness of stories -- 6. Story and Identity : how stories influence who we are -- 7. Story and life stage : turning to stories throughout our lives -- 8. On prejudice and values -- Epilogue: Coping, well-being, and the future of fiction.
"Being a fan of a popular film, television or book franchise is something most of us enjoy. But, we may not be familiar with the scientific study of fictional narrative or of fandom. In this book, two media psychologists reveal the sometimes-paradoxical idea that fiction helps us find truth in our real lives. Whether you consider yourself a fan or whether you find yourself thinking of a particular fictional scene for inspiration, you are not alone. Perfectly sane people regularly admit that their favourite stories are important to them. Though journalists sometimes assume that the interest in the fictional world is a sign of trouble, we enthusiastically disagree. Because story worlds are social simulations, people use them to work out their values, decide how to handle similar situations, and even decide what kind of person they want to be. Though films and shows are widely spoken of as diversions or as escapism, there are many ways that they aren't trivial at all to us. In this book, the authors explore how we understand the identity of a favourite character and the actor who plays the character. Are they the same person? We also delve into the nitty gritty of mental models for story worlds and timeless story arcs such as the hero's journey. The moments that strike us as important can change as we age and move through different life stages. Our conclusion: fans are not crazy. What fans are is human"--Provided by publisher.