Fans of horror and apocalyptic movies have higher resilience to frightening real world scenarios and were better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic as a result, new research published Tuesday said.
The study found that fans of horror films had better psychological resilience than others, while fans of so-called “prepper” genres, including alien invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films, had both greater resilience and preparedness for the pandemic.
“We also found that [the] trait morbid curiosity was associated with positive resilience and interest in pandemic films during the pandemic. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to frightening fictions allow audiences to practice effective coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations,” the study’s authors wrote.
While movie-goers may not be heading to the cinema to see a scary film with the intention of learning survival techniques, watching these films present “ample” opportunities for learning, the study found.
“Through stories, people can learn how to escape dangerous predators, navigate novel social situations, and explore methods for surviving a catastrophe,” the authors wrote.
In the case of coronavirus, the researchers highlighted films that deal specifically with social upheaval as garnering greater preparedness for COVID-19 in film watchers.
“Experience with these simulations can be used as a form of preparation and practice of both specific skills relevant to particular situations and more general skills associated with emotion regulation,” the researchers said.
The study, which questioned 310 participants on their movie habits and how they have felt during the pandemic, found that the results were the same even when controlled for age, sex, income and general personality differences.