Well, who’d have thought it? According to a new survey by University College London (UCL) that was commissioned by audiobook giant Audible, it turns out that audio versions of our favourite books bring in more emotional engagement than films or television.
To find out this interesting result, research psychologists played scenes from well-known stories across crime, sci-fi, fantasy, action and classical genres to figure out how much of a physiological impact the audio form had against visual storytelling mediums.
Tested across 102 participants, aged between 18 and 55, the study measured heart rate, body temperature and skin conductance when listening to audiobooks compared to watching scenes from films and television selected for their similarity in emotional intensity, comparative length and narrative. Some of the audiobooks to be included in the research were Game of Thrones, Girl on the Train, and Silence of the Lambs.
Dr Joseph Devlin (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) said:
The results clearly show that listening to audiobooks produces a stronger emotional reaction to the content than watching it on a screen, yet when the participants were surveyed after the exercise they assumed they had been less engaged. This could be an exciting development for the industry.
Consistent across the different stories, participant ages and demographics, the findings suggested that audiobooks could produce more consistent patterns of physiological change than film and television. So, next time you want to feel totally enthralled in the story you’re hooked on, perhaps consider switching to the audio retelling instead of the movie adaptation?
Don Katz, Audible founder and CEO, said: “Audible was founded because we believe deeply in the impact that powerful listening experiences can have on hearts and minds.
“This first phase of UCL research confirms what millions of Audible listeners already know – the spoken word enthrals, entertains, inspires and most importantly, moves us like nothing else.”