Why do some people like horror movies and others not?

On the eve of Halloween, let's talk abouthorror movies. Agree, basically there are two types of people: those who love horror films, and those who hide under the covers while watching. The reason why you get to one camp, and not to another, according to some researchers, lies in issues of nature and education. But that is far from all. Horror films, in fact, give us the opportunity to mentally rehearse as we deal with eternal dangers. It is curious that the more negative emotions a person experiences while watching a horror movie, the greater the likelihood that he will enjoy the genre.

Shot from the film “It”

Fear = Fun

Be it a lion chasing you in the savannah, orthe monster from the film that pursues the main character, the sense of fear that we experience, arises in the same place in the brain: in the tonsil. The amygdala is an ancient area of ​​the brain that is responsible for processing emotions and, importantly, triggers the “hit or run” reaction. It is then that the body releases chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol, which increase heart rate, increase blood pressure and slow down breathing. In other words, regardless of whether the threat is real or not, the brain responds to it the same way. But in the case of horror films, for some reason, some people are simply inclined to have a higher tolerance for anxiety and fear. These “thrill seekers” tend to be more open minded and seek out experiences that help them achieve this state — such as skydiving or spicy food.

Studies show that men likethere are more scary films than women, but the reason may be that their role in society is associated with fearlessness and cruelty. In addition, men like to watch scary movies also because women are more likely to seek physical intimacy when they are scared, and men can boast of their strength and courage. And yet, the most interesting explanation for the love of some people to watch horror is provided by evolutionary psychology - from the point of view of this science, horror films affect our basic fears, such as the fear of contracting a dangerous disease and the fear of being eaten. This explains the popularity of zombie films and films that show oversized carnivores.

It turned out that fans of zombie films are afraid to be eaten (a shot from the series The Walking Dead)

Fear = Fear

Scientists also note that childhood experience mayaffect a person’s tolerance for horror. Injury caused by neglect by parents or peers, poverty and substance abuse can affect tonsil function, making it work in survival mode.

Do you like horror movies? Which movie do you think is the worst? Tell about it to the participants of our Telegram chat.

At the other end of the spectrum are positive kidsfear-related experiences teach the brain that fear is scary. In childhood, and especially up to 7 years old, watching horror films can negatively affect the emotional state of the child - the fact is that young children do not fully understand what danger is real and which is fictitious. At the same time, watching scary films in childhood with his family will allow the child to feel safe and understand what is real and what is not. Sometimes it’s useful to laugh at the scary scenes of the whole family. As Margie Kerr, a sociologist and author of The Scream: Frightening Adventures in the Science of Fear, writes in her book, if we begin to connect scary things with friends and family, this combines the complete picture that horror films are a fun pastime.

Frame from the cult film Stanley Kubrick's “Shine”

In order not to miss anything interesting from the world of science and technology, subscribe to our news channel on Telegram.

However, you should also consider what you do.immediately after watching the movie. The human body remains in a state of excitement, and excitation enhances emotions. If you continue to have a good time with your friends, these positive feelings will reinforce your experience of watching horror games as good and 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 bad, and you will be more likely to not watch horror movies the next time. These associations are more powerful and harder to get out of your head, so they are likely to have a greater impact on your future behavior. However, all these advantages can be realized only if a person is open to a new experience. But for those who in every possible way avoid novelty, the results can easily go the other way.