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And as it turns out, that link might hold true across supernatural phenomena. In one paper, sociologists Joseph Baker and Christopher Bader drew a connection between Americans' diminishing religious faith and the renaissance of ghost-based "reality" programs in the 21st century. So is it just that we need to believe in something, and if it's not religion, then it's going to be either UFOs or ghosts?

Some people think it's not the believing that does it, but the unbelieving.

A brief look at psychological horror at the cinema

That is, we like scary stories because we know they aren't true, that they'll eventually come to an end. According to Neil Gaiman a man who knows a thing or two about scary stories , "Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses.


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You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. The thing is, we might never get a "real" answer to the question of why we love to scare ourselves so much. It might depend on the person — does watching a scary movie leave you feeling relieved that the zombies aren't real, or does it keep you up at night with visions of grasping ghouls? Either way, the very act of getting frightened can be very satisfying, and it might come down to a physiological response.

Writing for Inside Science , Astara March noted that a frightening encounter inevitably floods your system with adrenaline, even if what you're experiencing isn't dangerous at all. When you see the little plastic spider on the ground, your body automatically prepares to react as if it's a black widow.

Do You Like Scary Movies Enough to Step Inside One? Here's Your Chance

Maybe you've got a particular fear of spiders, and you immediately run away. That's not likely to leave you smiling and ready for more scares. But if you've got a more controlled response to fear stimuli, then a quick check will reveal that you're not in any danger at all. Then you get to enjoy some of the side effects of the adrenaline rush, namely, a heightened production of endorphins.

So maybe it really does just come down to hormones. If you're the type of person who loves scary movies, it might be because you've trained your fear response not to immediately freak out when Jason Voorhees pops up on screen. And if you hate them, it's just that you've got a perfectly natural aversion to mask-wearing machete-wielders.

Why do we read scary books?

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Get smarter each time you open a new tab with the Curiosity Smart Tab Chrome extension. Sign in close. Download the free app. Horror movies and haunted houses are also simulated situations.

It fosters connections: Bring up the first scary movie you saw, and most people their own story to share. Watch a scary movie, and you end up talking with friends about why a character went down those stairs and what you would have done instead.

Why Can’t I Handle Horror Movies?

The Big Stories. Steven Schlozman, MD, psychiatrist and horror fanatic, helps us understand why we love the thrill of scary movies and haunted houses. Photo: Pexels. Photo: Provided. Recommended Slideshows 40 Pictures. Related Articles 10 best Halloween movies on Netflix The history of Halloween includes matchmaking, spirits and ancient Celtic traditions. Tags: Psychology Halloween. Latest From Trump's half-cocked and loaded tweet draws barrage of reaction New American deaths in the Dominican Republic emerge amid investigation Bar scales back 'free shot per goal' promotion after U.

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SHOULD There Be More Anime Dubs Like Ghost Stories?

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