Why do some people like horror and not others?

On the eve of Halloween let’s talk about horror movies. Agree, basically there are two types of people: those who love horror movies, and those who are hiding under a blanket while watching. The reason you find yourself in one camp, and not in another, according to some researchers, lies in the issues of nature and nurture. But that’s not all. Horror movies, in fact, give us the opportunity to mentally rehearse how we will cope with the perennial hazards. Interestingly, the more negative emotions a person experiences while watching a horror movie, the greater the likelihood that he will get pleasure from the genre.

Frame from the movie “It”

Fear = Fun

Whether it’s a lion chasing you on the Savannah, or the monster from the film that haunts the main character, the feeling of fear, which we feel is born in the same place in the brain: the amygdala. The amygdala is an ancient brain area that is responsible for the processing of emotions and, importantly, triggers the reaction of “fight or flight”. That’s when the body releases chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol, which increase heart rate, raise blood pressure and slows breathing. In other words, regardless of a real threat or not, the brain reacts to it the same way. But in the case of horror films, for some reason, some people just want to have a higher tolerance to anxiety and fear. These “thrill seekers” generally are more open and looking for experience, which helps them to achieve this state — for example skydiving or spicy food.

Studies showthat men like scary movies more than women, but the reason may be that their role in society is associated with fearlessness and cruelty. In addition, men love to watch scary movies because women are more likely to seek physical closeness when they’re scared, and men can boast of their strength and courage. And yet, the most interesting explanation of love some people to view horror, gives evolutionary psychology from the perspective of this science, horror movies affect our basic fears, such as fear of infection disease and the fear of being eaten. This explains the popularity of zombie movies and movies that show oversized carnivores.

It turned out that fans of zombie movies are afraid to be eaten (still from the series “the Walking dead” )

Fear = fear

Scientists say that childhood experiences can affect the tolerance of the person to horror. Injury caused by neglect from parents or peers, poverty, and substance abuse can affect your tonsils, making it work in survival mode.

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At the other end of the spectrum, positive childhood experiences associated with fear, teach the brain that the fear is terrible. In children, especially under 7 years of viewing horror films may have a negative impact on the emotional state of the child — the fact that young children do not fully understand what danger is real and what is fictional. While viewing scary movies as a child with his family will allow the child to feel safe and to understand what is real and what is not. Sometimes it is useful to laugh at the scary scenes with the whole family. As he writes in his book, Margie Kerr, a sociologist and author of the book “Cry: the frightening adventures in the Science of fear”, if we begin to associate scary things with friends and family, it combines a complete picture of what horror movies is a fun pastime of leisure.

A scene from the cult film Stanley Kubrick’s “the Shining”

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However, it is worth considering what you do directly after watching the film. The human body remains in a state of excitement and arousal intensifies emotions. If you continue to have a good time with friends, these positive feelings will enhance your browsing experience horror as good and will make you want to do it again. But, for example, if you get into a car accident on the way home, your mind will register this experience as a bad one and you’ll be more inclined not to watch horror movies next time. These associations are more significant and harder to get out of my head, so they are likely to have greater impact on your future behavior. However, all these benefits can be realized only if people are open to new experiences. But for those who avoids novelty, the results could easily go the other way.

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