The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story: The Distortion of Stories in the Service of Entertainment

35 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2006

See all articles by Jeremy Burrus

Jeremy Burrus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New York University (NYU); New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Amber Jurgens

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: September 1, 2006

Abstract

People are often motivated to be entertaining. Past work has shown that those given entertainment goals tell stories differently than those given accuracy goals (e.g. Dudukovic, Marsh, & Tversky, 2004). In three studies we investigate the influence of the motive to entertain on story distortion. In each study, we found that the motive to entertain was related to story distortion. For instance, participants who opened a cockroach-infested container of food exaggerated the size of cockroaches when describing the event to a confederate, and participants telling a group of peers about the first time they got drunk claimed to have been more drunk than when they told the same story to a tape recorder. Furthermore, it was also the case the distorting influence of the motive to tell a good story occasionally occurred without awareness, influencing not only their descriptions of the events but their memories of them as well.

Keywords: stories, entertainment, distortion, memory, motivation

Suggested Citation

Burrus, Jeremy and Kruger, Justin and Jurgens, Amber, The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story: The Distortion of Stories in the Service of Entertainment (September 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946212 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946212

Jeremy Burrus (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States

Amber Jurgens

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
123
Abstract Views
983
rank
234,407
PlumX Metrics