The Las Vegas Review Journal brings us a story today examining the reasons we as readers and viewers become emotionally invested with fictional characters.
Citing opinions from author Deborah Coonts as well as a University of Nevada associate professor in psychology, the article discusses our willingness and eagerness to identify with fictional characters, to find a common emotional ground and become a part of their journey.
Some might call this "escapism". A friend recently mentioned to me how soothing we find it to slip into a book or TV show or video game world, while the real world is falling apart around us. We also discussed, as this article discusses, the attraction of a fictional struggle in larger-than-life circumstances, which allows us to feel at least some sense of achievement and victory when our real lives, and perhaps relationships, aren't so easy to control.
What do you think of people's willingness to escape into deep emotional investment with fictional characters and fictional worlds? Is it harmless or even psychologically healthy? Or is it escapism at its worst, making us more eager to avoid conflict for the safety of fiction and make-believe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.