The line between fiction and reality is thin: according to a recent American study, fans of horror films are more resilient and better prepared for pandemics.

Overflowed hospitals, doctors in white coveralls, a deadly virus that is spreading within the population, looting, diminishing food stocks… No, this is not a story of the coronavirus epidemic but the scenario of most (good) post-apocalyptic films.

According to a recent study by the University of Chicago, fans of horror films would be better prepared and more resilient in the face of pandemics — they would notably live more calmly the epidemic of coronavirus which is underway on the planet.

Conducted with 310 American volunteers, this (unusual) study explains that post-apocalyptic horror films “prepare” viewers for certain aspects of the pandemic – such as food shortages and confinement. “You have seen it a hundred times in movies. It does not catch you off guard,” said Coltan Scrivner, psychologist at the University of Chicago and main author of this study.

Even better: according to the researchers, fans of horror films are also less stressed, less irritable and less prone to insomnia than others in a pandemic – they are “less prone to negative mental states” according to Coltan Scrivner.

“Our ability to immerse ourselves virtually in fictional worlds is a gift from natural selection: it prepares us better for different situations, whether stressful or frightening” adds Mathias Clasen, psychologist at the University of Aarhus (at Denmark) and co-author of the study. We know what to watch tonight …

Joseph Mandell

Mandell is currently working towards a medical degree from the University of Central Florida. His main passions include kayaking, playing soccer and tasting good food. He covers mostly science, health and environmental stories for the Scientific Origin.