Why We Care About Fictional Characters

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By WGBH. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Finding out that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father probably didn’t have any practical implications for your life. It didn’t translate into a raise at work or help you lose 15 pounds. So why do we care so much about the fates of fictional characters? William Flesch is the author of the book “Comeuppance: Costly Signaling, Altruistic Punishment, and Other Biological Components of Fiction.” He argues that we root for good guys and gals because we love making bets on people. And, once we make those bets, it’s imperative that we are proven right.

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