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Home / More Lifestyle / Less ‘psychological distress’: Horror movie fans are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic better, and there’s scientific proof

Less ‘psychological distress’: Horror movie fans are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic better, and there’s scientific proof

A new study has found that those who enjoy watching scary flicks are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic a lot better than others. Read on to find out why...

more-lifestyle Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 19:15 IST
Alfea Jamal
Alfea Jamal
Hindustan Times, Delhi
A still from the 2017 horror movie IT based on the Stephen King novel by the same name.
A still from the 2017 horror movie IT based on the Stephen King novel by the same name.(YouTube screengrab)

The coronavirus pandemic has got all our spirits down, given that we can’t socialise, go out, eat, dress, or live like we’re used to, but we all have a number of friends who seen almost unfazed by the world crumbling around them, they’re still productive, not too stressed or paranoid. And according to a new finding, the reason that they’re surviving this real life horror show could be because of their love for all things vile onscreen! A new study conducted by the Research Program for Media, Communication, and Society and the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, Denmark has found that those who enjoy watching scary flicks are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic a lot better than others.

The findings in the report said, “Although most people go into a scary movie with the intention of being entertained rather than learning something, scary stories present ample learning opportunities. Fiction allows the audience to explore an imagined version of the world at very little cost. Through fiction, people can learn how to escape dangerous predators, navigate novel social situations, and practice their mind-reading and emotion regulation skills.”

The study involved only 310 participants, so we don’t have to take it all too seriously, but the respondents who did have a liking for the horror genre did admit that they had suffered less psychological distress in the past few months since the world has been battling the coronavirus.

The report went on to add, “One reason that horror use may correlate with less psychological distress is that horror fiction allows its audience to practice grappling with negative emotions in a safe setting. Experiencing negative emotions in a safe setting, such as during a horror film, might help individuals hone strategies for dealing with fear and more calmly deal with fear-eliciting situations in real life.

However, if you’re not a fan of horror movies it is still best to steer clear of them, as watching them now won’t suddenly give you nerves of steel. According to The Independent, the researchers warned that those who do not enjoy horror movies should not watch them now in the hopes of improving their coping mechanism. The researchers said, “If someone hates horror movies, it may simply make it worse.” The also explained that everyone finds different things scary, so its best to stick to what you know, the said, “If emotion regulation skills are what are being improved and helping people deal with the pandemic, it may also be best to watch movies that are scary to you, not movies that are considered the scariest in general.”

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