Harry Potter Casts Spell on Millennials' Political Views

Readers show 'greater support for equality': Anthony Gierzynski

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 20, 2014 2:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – JK Rowling's boy wizard hasn't just entertained millennials—he's worked his magic on their political views as well, writes a political science professor who's studied the subject. After surveying university students, Anthony Gierzynski found that "reading the books correlated with greater levels of acceptance for out-groups, higher political tolerance, less predisposition to authoritarianism, greater support for equality, and greater opposition to the use of violence and torture," he writes at the Conversation. (Previously, he has argued that the Harry Potter series helped get President Obama re-elected, notes the College Fix.)

Some have questioned whether entertainment can actually affect our political views, Gierzynski writes. He would argue differently. "When we’re consuming entertainment stories it’s likely that we’re more susceptible to politically relevant messages—we’re relaxing, having fun, our political 'guard' is down," he writes. What's more, researchers have considered whether entertainment affects our stances on violence and sex; why not politics? Indeed, Gierzynski's research goes beyond Potter into the worlds of Game of Thrones and House of Cards, which appear to "reduce the tendency to believe in a just world." Click for his full piece.

A 2007 file photo of a happy Harry Potter fan.
A 2007 file photo of a happy Harry Potter fan.   (AP Photo/John Amis)
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