Why are some people fascinated by horror?

Many horror lovers often pay a visit to haunted destinations just to get scared but why are people so interested in scaring themselves? What is the fun in watching scary clowns, knife-wielding psychopaths, and ghosts? A new research published in the journal named Psychological science, watching horror elucidates a physical response such as an increase in heartbeats. Some people obtain pleasure from fear.


In the past, researchers thought that release of certain hormones in brain or quickening of heart rates were some of the reasons that people found haunted places so attractive.

In this study, the researchers summoned 110 participants who responded to an advertisement regarding haunted house in Vejle, Denmark. The participants were fitted with a heart rate monitor and their heart rates were recorded whilst they experienced haunted experiences. In order to scare the audiences, tactics like jump scares were deployed using monsters or zombies. The researchers also observed the participants through their monitors.

The researchers discovered a U shaped trend, where participants experienced a mixture of fear as well as pleasure. The pulse rates also simultaneously went up and down.


The stress, uncertainty and surprise make watching/experiencing horror enjoyable according to the researchers.

Recreational fear: What makes horror so attractive?

According to Andersen, one of the researchers, people who go to haunted houses or watch horror movies do it precisely to experience recreational fever; which basically means they experience a mixture of stress and enjoyment at the same time. If the haunted house is not that scary though, they do not enjoy it as such. This kind of fear can induce physiological responses like increased heart rates but as long as the responses are not too severe, there is pleasure involved in the equation.

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