Science Answers The Age-old Question: “Why Do People Like Villains?”

Why Do People Like Villains

Psychology News

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan explored why do people like villains. The study is published in the journal Cognition.

The Study

The researchers conducted three studies with 434 children (ages 4-12) and 277 adults to determine why people find the good in villains.

The studies explored how individuals make sense of antisocial acts committed by evil-doers. They focused on participants’ judgments of both familiar and novel villains and heroes from works of fiction.

The Findings

The results revealed that people see villains as people with inner goodness and worthy of redemption, despite the bad/immoral actions they regularly engage in. The authors remarked: “In other words, people believe there is a mismatch between a villain’s outward behaviors and their inner, true self, and this is a bigger gap for villains than for heroes.

To Know More You May Refer To

Umscheid, V. A., Smith, C. E., Warneken, F., Gelman, S. A., & Wellman, H. M. (2022). What makes Voldemort tick? Children’s and adults’ reasoning about the nature of villains. Cognition, 233, 105357. Advance online publication.

Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  • Science Answers The Age-old Question: “Why Do People Like Villains?”