Why do we enjoy watching horror movies and going to the fear room? Neurobiologists do not stop arguing about why fear has such an attraction.
Researchers suggest that the pleasure we experience from watching horror films is largely due to the same psychological mechanisms that allow us to learn from other people’s experiences. For example, in the journal Scientific American, scientists described in detail what caused the need for people to gossip. It turns out that in the process of evolution, the most powerful representative of a social group was considered the one who possessed information about the affairs of his allies and enemies. Such people knew with whom it is better to avoid battles in which you can lose. We have inherited the genes of these curious tricks that have come down to us through the ages.
Today, we are more interested in familiar people, but sometimes we carefully listen to information about strangers who survived such rare events as a shark attack or an airplane crash. The stories of people who have achieved some success in life are also of interest. In other words, our passion for “cognitive gossip” is dictated by millions of years of evolution, which has given benefits to those in society who could learn strategies for survival and successful development by example. Today, when we enjoy watching horror films, similar mechanisms are launched in our brains. Therefore, this hobby can be very useful.
Being in the comfortable and safe hall of the cinema, many of us are once again trying to escape from a serial killer. We unconsciously scroll through the head of possible strategies for the development of events in a similar situation, if we get into it ourselves. Very often in the hall you can hear warning cries or sighs of the audience when the hero wants to open the door, which should not be opened. So we feel more prepared for such scenarios, because we have already seen how other people behave in such terrifying circumstances.
We experience the same when we visit the room of fear. Such entertainments help to understand what exactly scares us, what feelings we experience in critical conditions, and also to evaluate our level of preparedness for emergency situations. Therefore, horror films and the sense of fear that they cause can be not only entertainment, but also a useful psychological practice. It is she who will help prepare for unforeseen and unpleasant circumstances that we may encounter in real life.