• Shawn Wilson, Ph.D.

Watching Scary Movies Can Be Good For You

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

It is the time of year when people love a good scare, whether it is walking through a haunted house or putting on a scary movie. A good question is, how does watching something scary impact you?

A short article by TIME looked at research related to watching scary movies. As discussed in the article there are some benefits of watching a scary movie, including burning more calories compared to watching a non-scary movie. Apparently the movies The Shining, Jaws, and The Exorcist were the top calorie burning movies in a 2012 study. While this research was not peer-reviewed, it is interesting to think about the extra calories you burn as your heart rate speeds up related to a good scare.

Having a good scare can also oddly improve your mood. Researchers have found that watching a scary movie or going to a haunted house can make people feel less anxious, less frustrated, and happier. These positive effects may be due to neurotransmitters and hormones that are released during the scary experience. People may also have a sense of accomplishment after watching a scary movie, almost a sense of pride of having made it through a scary experience.

However, it is important to note that thus far the research has only used participants who wanted to be scared - it is likely a very different story for people who do not want to be scared in the first place.

So in review, if you feel like you want a scare, go for it. You might burn some extra calories (which might help offset the extra candy you are eating) and have a more positive mood afterwards. Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

Article link: http://time.com/4995896/scary-movies-burn-calories/

The Clinically Relevant Insights Blog, part of ShawnWilsonPhD.com, shares news and research regarding psychology and wellness.


© 2020 by Shawn Wilson