- It’s because these people may adopt the skills, happenings, and vigilance in the movies.
- The frightening and disturbing imagery in some movies may also help people face reality a bit better.
We all have movie genres we like. Some like light-hearted films such as comedy and romance, while others like dark and mysterious ones like horror, thriller, and suspense.
But can your movie preference actually affect your life? According to a study, yes it does.
If you’re keen on watching pandemic movies, there is a chance that you are better equipped for when the actual thing happens.
New research suggests that post-apocalyptic movies may give their fans a practical and mental advantage in the current coronavirus pandemic.
According to Coltan Scrivner, a psychologist who specializes in morbid curiosity at the University of Chicago, people can actually adapt the skills they see in the movies.
“If it’s a good movie, it pulls you in and you take the perspective of the characters, so you are unintentionally rehearsing the scenarios,” he said.
“We think people are learning vicariously. It’s like, with the exception of the toilet paper shortage, they pretty much knew what to buy.”
The research further suggests that the imaginary narratives could give people the mental opportunity to play out dangerous social scenarios while sitting in comfort and safety.
Researchers asked 310 volunteers about what movie they preferred, how prepared they felt going into the pandemic, and whether they’d experienced any levels of anxiety, depression, irritability, or sleeplessness since the coronavirus spread all over the world.
The goal was to test whether horror or pandemic feels have prepared its viewers and better.
Well, it kinda’ did.
“We found that fans of horror films exhibited greater resilience during the pandemic and that fans of ‘prepper’ genres (alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films) exhibited both greater resilience and preparedness.”
When the pandemic hit, those who were driven to films like Contagion showed greater resilience during the crisis.
Even with different age, sex, and personality traits, the researchers found out that frightening imaginary events were slowly helping some people cope with real-life better. They also learned what kinds of conflicts they could encounter amid chaos, which institutions they should rely on, and what would happen if people act selfishly or cooperatively.
“Through a greater propensity to gather information about dangerous phenomena, morbidly curious individuals may accrue a larger repertoire of knowledge and coping strategies that would be useful in a variety of dangerous situations in real life.”
Fans of these films would also be far more vigilant with their surroundings.
“Our findings add support to the idea that fiction can be a useful simulation of both specific scenarios – in the case of pandemic films – and generally fearful scenarios -in the case of horror films,” the authors said.
“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.”