Dec 1, 2023

When Fiction Feels Real: Scientists Discover That Lonely Brains Can’t Differentiate Between Fictional Characters and Real-Life Friends

Posted by in category: neuroscience

A recent study discovered that for individuals who often feel lonely, the distinction between actual friends and beloved fictional characters gets blurred in the part of the brain that is active when thinking about others, a new study found.

The study involved brain scans of “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts as they reflected on different characters from the series and their real-life friends. Prior to the study, all participants had undergone a loneliness assessment.

The difference between those who scored highest on loneliness and those who scored lowest was stark, said Dylan Wagner, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

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