Psychologist Danielle Forshee explains that the ability to share and understand the feelings of others, such as a TV character, is a survival mechanism.
“When we feel we know someone and like them — or the character they play on TV— we are more likely to feel an attachment toward that character, eliciting an empathy response,” Forshee says. “Although, the intensity at which we perceive the feelings of loss and pain while watching deaths or violence on TV versus witnessing it in person are less intense.”
So while the character isn’t real, his or her death still feels like a real loss.
It’s a chance that audiences are willing to take, as they grow more and more interested in the storyline of a show or movie.
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