A new study conducted around the public reaction to the coronavirus pandemic has claimed that fans of horror films are coping with the health crisis better than most.
The study, conducted by a team off researchers working for the Research Program for Media, Communication, and Society and the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, asked a number of people about the choices of television and cinematic preferences during the social distancing lockdown in attempt to gauge and discover any relevant patterns.
Their results suggested that “morbidly curious people exhibit greater positive resilience during COVID-19” than most, adding that “morbidly curious people are more interested in pandemic films during the pandemic.”
While that may come as little surprise, the study suggested that shift in the viewing process of horror films may have occurred, explaining that some fans may be viewing scary films as a “learning opportunity.” Detailing their findings, the report stated: “Although most people go into a scary movie with the intention of being entertained rather than learning something, scary stories present ample learning opportunities.”
Adding: “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.
“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,” they continued. “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.
“Of course, if someone hates horror movies, it may simply make it worse,” they added. “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.
“If this is how it works, the whole point would be for you to learn to accept feeling afraid or anxious, and learn how to overcome that feeling.”
You can read the full study, here.