The suspense, goriness and panic that horror movies produce often attract people instead of scaring them off.
Psychologist Amaya Terrón explains why people enjoy watching scary movies: “They alter your state of mind in a way that causes anxiety in the face of danger or potential harm, whether it be a product of your imagination or reality.”
The specialist explains that there are innate fears that are inherent to our own species, and there are acquired fears that come from exposure to our environment and are instilled in us from learned experience.
Examples of innate fears (those we are born with) include loud noises, certain animals, darkness and death, among others.
Acquired fears, “…are related to our perception of risk and how we interpret certain dangerous situations; not just our survival, but our physical and emotional integrity. They are mainly acquired by learning from our interaction with our environment,” she explains.
“From a psychological point of view, fear may be an adaptive response that protects us from certain stimuli that we interpret -either innately or acquired- as a threat to our survival or physical and psychological wellbeing,” she emphasizes.
Terrón concludes that fear among individuals is caused by anything that is unknown or cannot be controlled.