Study: Horror movie fans are coping with pandemic better than others

Study: Horror movie fans are coping with pandemic better than others

Results of a recent study suggest that fans of horror films, especially apocalyptic movies, may be better equipped to deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was conducted by psychologist Coltan Scrivner at the University of Chicago and was later featured on the official website of Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture (ESIC).

Scrivner’s study, which has not been peer-reviewed, basically states that those folks who love watching movies about the collapse of society as we know it may possess the necessary resilience to cope with a real-life crisis, such as the ongoing coronavirus crisis right now.

How the study was conducted

What Scrivner’s research team did was not only ask more than 300 volunteers about their film preferences but also check their individual viewing histories before having them go through some additional probing questions.

As for the follow-up questions, they mainly revolve around how ready the respondents of the study thought they were in coping with the COVID-19 crisis.

The researchers also made a point to ask the volunteers about any anxiety, depression, level of irritability, and sleeplessness they might have experienced while the pandemic was going on.

The team then collated the data, and then made sure to control for age, gender, and personality characteristics (e.g. conscientiousness, neuroticism).

For good measure, Scrivner’s team also took into account what types of movies the volunteers liked and preferred to watch most of the time.

Study horror fans coronavirus

The results

According to the study’s results, fans of horror films, in general, appeared to be less negatively affected emotionally by the coronavirus crisis, as compared to those who have not disclosed a fondness for scary movies.

The results of Scrivner’s study also suggested that among the horror film fans, those who like to watch apocalyptic flicks were found to be more resilient and better equipped, both in terms of mental capacity and practical ability.

As told by Scrivner to the Guardian, those who watch apocalyptic movies are not only drawn to the story or plot, but are also, in a way, subconsciously rehearsing in their minds what they are going to do if they were put in a similar position in real life.

He further added that due to the fact that fans of horror films have seen societal collapse being portrayed on the big screen so many times, they are not caught off-guard as much as compared to average folks.

As additionally explained by Mathias Clasen, a psychologist from Aarhus University and one of the co-authors of the study, the subconscious rehearsal of troubled times is also a gift from natural selection, which basically granted humans a biological mechanism that harkens back to the days of our earliest ancestors, who arguably had plenty more things to worry about in their daily lives than we do today.

Images courtesy of Zorik D/Unsplash, Anna Shvets/Pexels

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