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Overig Psychologie Samenleving

Embrace the spook

Scratching noises, soft but certainly close and drawing closer. You wake up and listen to them getting louder. Right in front of your bedroom door, the noise stops. The door handle starts to move down and the door is opening. Startled you reach for the light on your nightstand and turn it on. Movement at the doorpost. A hand, black and rotten, as if the owner has been dead for years, pulls back from the doorpost, back into the hallway. You scream. You hear loud stumbling noises in the hallway and the next moment the door flies open and your mom turns on the light. “Are you okay?”. Relaxed you lie back down. “I’m fine now!”, you say, as you turn out the light on the nightstand. Then a loud slashing noise startles you both. Your mom turns around, and the next moment she is pulled away. A scream, interrupted by a snapping sound, silence. “Mom…?”. Nothing. And then, movement. The black hand appears around the corner of the doorframe. A dark red substance is dropping from its nails. It reaches for the light switch. Immediately after the lights are switched off, the scratching noises rush towards you…

 

Enjoying horror

Are you scared yet? Spooktober is upon us, so we must creep and shiver as much as possible. On the 31st of October, Halloween is celebrated. Which has been the Irish new year once, has grown to be one of the most commercialized months of the year. We are indulged with scary decorations, costumes, stories, and most importantly, movies. But why does this work you may ask? People are scared of heights, or small spaces, and such people will most certainly never climb the Eiffel tower, or go exploring a cave. Why is it that people are willingly watching scary movies and enjoying horror?

 

Convince your friends

Many studies have looked into this subject and found multiple different reasons. How scary movies make you feel is the key finding in each of the reasons. We will dive into the findings to figure out why people enjoy this genre. Maybe it will give you some arguments to convince your friends to watch more horror movies with you!

 

Savages

The most popular theory centered around the notion of ‘the beast within’. This theory states that a part of every human brain is repressed unconsciously. This part represents the savage beast mankind used to be. According to this idea, deep down a part of us enjoys watching murder and mayhem taking place because we would do it ourselves if we could. Since we live in civil society, we have to oppress these feelings. Therefore, this results in a craving for a horror movie.

 

Thrill-seeking

However, not everyone has these feelings. This suggests that other factors are at work. Another possible reason for why we enjoy horror is connected to stimulating the whole brain. When you are scared the adrenaline levels spike in the brain, which is seen as a wonderful sensation by some people. Sensation seekers like this, who are into extreme activities such as bungee jumping or cliff diving tend to love horror movies too.

 

Well-being

The third reason is the feeling of accomplishment. Even people who hate being scared, watch a horror movie sometimes. When you finish a horror movie, a neurochemical response is triggered, known as the ‘rest-and-digest’ phenomena. During this response, dopamine is released into the body, which increases the sense of well-being.

 

Realibrating

Lastly, scary experiences challenge our perspective on risk. Things that seem scary beforehand can be easier to deal with after watching a horror movie. This is due to the fact that our brain recalibrates feelings based on past experiences.

 

It is clear that there are many reasons to watch horror movies, even if you do not enjoy it while doing it. You can oppress your savage instincts, let your adrenaline spike, feel better, and dare to do things you thought to be impossible. Embrace your inner spook this Halloween and see which of the above theories is your trigger for enjoying horror!


Dit artikel is geschreven door Jochem Hak
Jochem Hak

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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