Some people love the feeling of being scared!
Do you like horror movies? Some people really like to feel scared. And a horror movie is a great way to get that adrenaline rush that you’ve been craving. But did you know there is a psychological reason behind our horror fascination? This is why people love to be scared.
One of the benefits to being scared, is the adrenaline rush you experience. It makes you feel like you’re strong enough to wrestle a bear. And like nothing in the world can stop you. But your brain doesn’t know the difference between actual danger or a fictional threat. Krista Jordan, a clinical psychologist based in Austin, Texas, explained to Health: “The brain doesn’t always distinguish between fantasy and reality completely effectively … The brain kind of forgets in that moment that what it’s seeing is not real danger and then charges up the physiological response that would be appropriate if it were.” This adrenaline rush makes watching a horror movie into a pleasant experience for some.
Even though it is highly unlikely that an ax murderer will chase you around your house, we still like the feeling of being prepared for situations like that. And that is another reason why we like to watch horror movies. Coltan Scrivner, a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Human Development at The University of Chicago, told Health: “It’s about trying to learn to predict the world around you … What do other people do, even if they’re fictional, when they’re in this kind of situation? What do other people do when they find themselves facing some particular kind of threat or challenge?”
And not only do these movies help us feel prepared, they can also help us to practice coping strategies. “I think people who watch them a lot are learning how to deal with uncertainty and suspense and anxiety,” says Scrivner. He also worked on research that showed that people who like horror movies were more resilient during the pandemic. “We think what’s going on is that horror fans are essentially building a toolkit for how to deal with feeling anxious or afraid.”
Another thing that makes horror movies into a pleasant experience for some, is the fact that you’re never really in danger. Margot Levin, a clinical psychologist based in New York City, explains to Health: “You’re seeing scary things in a controlled environment, and I think that that’s something that we all crave … Think of a toddler learning to walk: One of the things they like to do is run away from the parent, get to a certain point where it’s a little scary, and then run back. It’s about playing with danger but with a sense of security.” And people feel like they actually accomplished something when they finish watching a horror movie. And that makes us feel good.
So, now you know why you like to watch scary movies!
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Source: Health | Image: Unsplash, Caleb Woods