Monday, 3 October 2011

Being Afraid, Fear and Why People Enjoy Horror

Being Afraid
I read an interesting article on a website called ‘Psychology Today’ which explains why people are afraid. A neuroscientist conducted an experiment to test how her patients reacted towards knowing that they were going to recieve an electric shock compared to actually recieving one. The results say that ‘people who expected to experience an electric shock suffered anxieties similar to those who had a response to a real threat. "A lot of our fears and anxieties are learned through communication," says Elizabeth A. Phelps, a New York university neuroscientist. "If someone tells you to be afraid of a dog, then the brain responds as if you actually were."


Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. If we couldn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are in no way life or death, and thus hand back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.
Why People Enjoy Horror Movies
Authors argue that horror movie viewers are happy to be unhappy. This novel approach to emotion reveals that people experience both negative and positive emotions simultaneously -- people may actually enjoy being scared, not just relief when the threat is removed. As the authors put it, "the most pleasant moments of a particular event may also be the most fearful."

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