Killing The Hero

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 14 2012 @ 2:29pm

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in "The Final Problem" (he fell off a waterfall), British readers were outraged. Maria Konnikova explains the reaction:

In 1989, psychologist Timothy Wilson came up with something known as the Affective Expectation Model (AEM). According to the AEM, the way people felt as a result of an experience wasn’t just a function of the experience itself. It also depended heavily on any prior expectations they might have had. In other words, if we expect that something will make us happy, we are more likely to feel happy after the experience; anything that doesn’t match will be assimilated into the overall expectations.

Conan Doyle eventually relented and brought his hero back to life.