Horror movie fans are better prepared for pandemics

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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 …

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