People are more likely to watch movies with gory scenes of violence if they felt there was meaning in confronting violent aspects of real life, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Augsburg, Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied why movie audiences are attracted to bloodshed, gore and violence.
Participants viewed film trailers featuring different levels of gore and meaningfulness, and rated their likelihood of watching the full movie. They also indicated their perceptions of the film (how gory, meaningful, thought-provoking, suspenseful, etc).
Earlier studies have suggested that audiences are not necessarily attracted to violence per se, but seem to be drawn to violent content because they anticipate other benefits, such as thrill and suspense.
The new findings suggest that such hedonistic pleasures are only part of the story about why we willingly expose ourselves to scenes of bloodshed and aggression.