It may seem confusing. Horror movies make us lose our fear, yes. This enables people to deal better psychologically with trauma situations. This is confirmed by a fairly serious investigation. Combine the experience of watching these types of films with the fears and trauma we have in real life.
The mental harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is innumerable. One way or another, the changes in the new normal have clearly affected all of us. What can we do? There is a link between the way people go through difficult times and horror movie consumption. It seems like a random relationship. However, several studies have shown that horror movie fans have better control of their psyche in situations of emotional vulnerability.
“It could have positive effects on the adaptation of coping strategies,” said Mathias Clasen. He is director of the Recreational Fear Laboratory and professor at Aarhus University in Denmark.
He argues that watching horror movies enables people “to learn how to respond to the fear impulse”. And how they can regulate their emotions. Even if the situations of horror fiction have nothing in common with his life.
Clasen conducted a study with 310 participants. It assessed how horror movie consumption affected people’s psychological experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the title “Pandemic Practice: Horror fans and pathologically curious people are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic”, the results of the study are clear. Horror fanatics show less psychological distress in times of social isolation.
Fear-loving moviegoers said they felt more ready to face the pandemic. In addition, they were more optimistic and resilient during delivery. There is one more curiosity that the study highlights. Morbidly curious people are more interested in pandemic films during the pandemic.
These experiences can serve as simulations of real experiences. We collect information from them and model possible worlds, ”suggests the research.
On the other hand, there is data on consumption in the «preparatory» genre. That is, science fiction films related to apocalyptic events, alien invasions, or zombies. It was associated with “increased resilience and readiness”.
The main conclusion is, “Exposure to horrific fiction enables the public to practice effective coping strategies. And they can be beneficial in real life situations.
Are you already looking for your next scary movie? Science says it: Movies make us lose our fear … of real life.