Love horror movies? This is what psychology has to say about it – RU Daily Targum

Do you love horror movies but aren’t sure why you do? Why do we get scared? Why do we push ourselves to go to movies that will give us a jump or choose to watch them alone?

Looking through the lens of psychology, and being a psychology major myself, I’ve always been fascinated with the reasons behind why things make us change our behaviors. 

But in order to answer these questions, we have to understand how fear works on a neurological level. Fear starts in the part of the brain known as the amygdala. The amygdala is the core of the neural system, and processes fearful and threatening stimuli.

The brain experiences the nature of fear in three different stages: freeze when an overwhelming stimuli presents itself, run, (also know as “flight,”) which is when your drive to get away from the thing that causes the fear kicks in, and fight, when the adrenaline rush allows you to fight back against the stimuli.

So, how does this help us understand why we watch horror movies?

When we watch scary films and “force” ourselves to feel scared, we feel a rush of adrenaline, and this releases chemical substances like endorphins and dopamine. The release of these chemicals can result in a sense of euphoria. As a result, the negative effects of fear are subsided with a sense of relief and well-being. 

Additionally, horror is a genre full of suspense, jump