Dark Side

Do we all have an “evil twin?” 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We’re not proud of our flaws and dark tendencies. Yet, we may secretly cheer for villains like Loki or Lord Voldemort. Why do we fan-out over fictitious bad guys?!

Rebecca Krause and Derek Rucker from Northwestern University wondered. So they turned to CharacTour, an entertainment website with over two hundred thousand users. 

Based on a personality quiz, users were matched with story characters, like Draco Malfoy or Spiderman. Then, users became “fans” of their favorite characters. The researchers then compared the participant’s quiz results to the characters they chose as favorites. 

What did they find? People preferred villains who are SIMILAR to themselves! 

In real life, we might shy away from people with flaws similar to ours. Why? Research has shown that we like to view ourselves positively! The researchers think that in fantasy, we can embrace our inner Mr. Hyde. Movies, tv shows and books are our safe haven! 

So, Luke – welcome to the dark side! Darth Vader awaits. Psst – he’s your father!