LivingThe reason we watch horror movies

The reason we watch horror movies

Experiments carried out by mad scientists, scenes of torture, bloody violence, terrifying creatures, zombies eating brains … what all these events have in common is that they are most likely part of a horror movie where the stories are dark and often terrible. But if they are so twisted, why do we see them?

There are many reasons why we may decide to watch horror movies. Although without real damage or the possibility of ending up dead, dismembered or possessed, psychology affirms that we see them because we want to understand our fears and the fears of the population as a whole. “ The horror genre addresses our archetypal fears . You can see throughout history how each generation has defined ‘terror’ in their own way and it becomes largely the idea that it is something outside our understanding that threatens us , ”explains Paul J. Patterson of State University. from San José (USA).

However, the passion for watching horror movies can go beyond the knowledge of our fears and seek something more like a stimulus and a safe response . A study published in the ‘ Journal of Consumer Research ‘ ( 2007 ) found that, although all participants rated their fear levels in a similar way to the completion of exposed horror videos, those who were used to watching horror movies or Those who considered themselves lovers of horror movies showed much more happiness after watching them than those who did not usually see such movies or who even rejected horror movies.

“In the real world, people can experience both happiness and sadness as well as euphoria and anxiety at the same time. People enjoy emotions even if they come from a negative source ; otherwise things could get pretty boring, ”says Joel Cohen of the University of Florida and author of the aforementioned study.

Personality: yes or no influence?

Does our personality influence this curious preference for content that, as far as possible, gives us a hard time ? Some studies, such as the one published by University of Delaware psychology professor Marvin Zuckerman , point to a search for sensations based on personality. Thus, those who seek higher levels of excitement tend to choose and enjoy this type of cinema because they need to live intense experiences . These “self-imposed tests” can range from watching horror movies to practicing extreme sports and activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping . This feeling of arousal can persist for some time after watching a horror movie, what Glenn Sparks of Purdue University calls the ” arousal transfer process .” In these cases, it happens that the culmination of physiological processes (high blood pressure, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat …) persists after watching the movie .

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