Brain research reveals why Horror movies fascinate us?

IMAGINE that you are walking at night in a dark, secluded alley. Your senses are alert and your fears are heightened. Suddenly a cat jumps in front of you. You are scared and bright, even if there is really nothing dangerous in the situation.

The same formula of ominousness and fright is also utilized in horror films.

– When we wait for something bad to happen, it prepares us to react when it actually happens, sums up Matthew Hudson, who has studied the fear reactions caused by horror films at the University of Turku.

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In the study, subjects watched a horror film. At the same time, their brain function was monitored by functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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When subjects sensed something bad was about to happen, areas in the brain specifically related to the auditory and visual senses were activated. The more they experienced fear, the more other areas of the brain associated with fear and flight became more active.

We miss the teasing excitement

According to the survey, the most common feeling evoked by Horror Movies was the excitement. Only then did fear and unrest come.

– Excitement is a positive emotional reaction that can be associated with watching any movie. That’s the main reason horror movies are watched, Hudson says.

Movies that contained psychological horror or real events were rated the most scary.

Supernatural movies were also scary.

– We are afraid of something that is impossible for us to overcome.

Who dares to watch?

Some of us love horror, others wouldn’t look at it at any cost. In the same way, some of us enjoy skydiving, some weaving socks.

Watching the horror causes the body to secrete opioids that create well-being and suppress nasty emotional reactions.

According to Matthew Hudson, opioids form a kind of “psychological buffer” that allows horror to be enjoyed as a forged adult tale.

For some of us, however, this bumper stays thin and looking at the horror feels just plain uncomfortable.

If the positive feeling of excitement caused by a horror film is greater than the fear and restlessness it evokes, we can enjoy the film.

Studies show that people who share a traumatic experience feel an almost compelling need to talk about it with each other afterwards.

Watching a horror movie together can also strengthen social ties. Even the viewing experience connects, even though it can’t be compared to a real-life disaster.

Same task as nightmares

According to one theory, Horror movies act as simulated threats that allow us to practice how we would act in a similar situation in real life.

The same theory has been put forward about nightmares: they help us practice threat detection and response.

This may have improved the chances of our ancestors surviving and producing offspring.

Horror was sought already in the Stone Age

Hudson himself admits to being a fan of horror films. He believes that Horror Movies meet our basic need to address a variety of dangers and threats.

– If we look at ancient cave paintings, they are full of scary and powerful animals. In that sense, Horror movies are not a new phenomenon, but a manifestation of something that has always existed.

Expert: Matthew Hudson, Lecturer in Psychology, National College of Ireland.

This article has appeared in Good Health magazine. As a subscriber, you can read all numbers free of charge from the service

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