Some of us canít get enough of frightening films. Weíve seen scores of them, and some more than once. We got to horror movie premiers and have collections of our favourites at home, as well. Others simply canít watch them. Either they get too frightened, or just donít have enough of a reaction to justify sitting through two hours of whateverís on offer. Why do some of us enjoy them so much and others not at all?
The Process of Excitation Transfer
Glenn Sparks PhD, is a professor and Associate Head of Purdue Universityís Brian Lamb School of Communication in West Lafayette, Indiana, in the USA. He says that one of the reasons these movies are appealing is the way you feel after youíve watched them. Itís called the Excitation Transfer Process, and it refers to the fact that, after watching scary movies, people's blood pressure rises, heart rates increase, and their respiration speeds up. Much the same effect as a win would have when youíre playing the online pokies NZ provides so widely for!
When the film ends, the arousal state continues, says Sparks, even if we are not aware of it. This means that any of the positive emotions you may experience, like having a really good time with your friends, for example, will be intensified. Instead of focusing on how scared you were when the movie was playing out, you will remember having a wonderful night out with your pals, and this will be the main drawcard for your repeating the experience.†
If you had a negative encounter, you will avoid suffering through it again, by the same logic. Letís say you were on a really awful date, or something horrible happened to you just after the movie, like a car accident. Thanks to your lingering heightened arousal state, any subsequent emotions you feel will be more intense as well, and it makes sense that you wouldnít want to repeat it.†
Weíre All Wired Differently
Some people enjoy very high levels of physiological arousal, says Sparks, and others, simply donít. According to research, around 10% of the worldís population enjoys adrenaline-pumping activities as they are more energising than workouts. Roller coasters, shark cage diving, skydiving and other crazy activities are all adored by the 10%. The rest of the planet doesn't understand the appeal!†
More specifically, certain individuals have more trouble screening out unwanted stimuli from their immediate environments. For example, they may be hypersensitive to noise, and have trouble concentrating in situations in which they are not able to control the aural intensity, as it were. These types of people are more likely to be unable to handle the experience of a horror movie, especially if it features a disturbing soundtrack, for example.†
Some people just like the novelty of a good fright-flick. All of us have been wired to notice anomalies in our environments, says Spark. Because danger disrupts routine, our curiosity regarding change is a survival instinct. Spark went so far as to equate the appeal of scary movies to our tendency to stop at the scene of a gory accident: itís something you donít usually see, and that in itself is reason to look at it now.†