Description: Evaluate the usefulness of the following two statements. People who are worried about what is going on with the Covid pandemic shous watch movies like Contagion (about a run-away pandemic). OR, people who are trying to deal with anxiety and nightmares should watch Zombie films or televisions shows (e.g., The Walking Dead) before bed. What do you think? Do you think the statements might actually represent valid, useful advice? In turns out that viewings of the film Contagion skyrocketed during the Covid Pandemic related shutdown. Would that happen if doing so made feelings of anxiety worse? If that helps and if watching zombie films or shows before bed reduces nightmares, why might that be? Once you have an hypothesis or two sorted out read the article linked below to see what psychological research suggests.
Source: How horror movies can help mental health, according to science, Kim Wong-Shing, CNet, Health and Science.
Date: October 1, 2021
So, horror you have the power to press pause on seems to be a part of the key to what seem like paradoxical effects. A little “rest and digest” after a scripted fright might be part of the positive effects too. A horror film also captures your attention and stops you from ruminating (a BIG part of uncontrolled anxiety). The finding that horror fans were MPRE resilient during 2020 is a finding that IS hard to ignore. Perhaps some Walking Ded therapy is not such a weird thing to try?!
Questions for Discussion:
- What evidence is there indicating a large increase in anxiety over the past pandemic year?
- Way might watch horror films or shows before bed be a good thing?
- What else might help or where else might horror therapy help?
References (Read Further):
Hudson, M., Seppälä, K., Putkinen, V., Sun, L., Glerean, E., Karjalainen, T., … & Nummenmaa, L. (2020). Dissociable neural systems for unconditioned acute and sustained fear. Neuroimage, 216, 116522. Link
Javanbakht, J. and Saab, Linda (2017) What Happens in the Brain When We Feel Fear? Smithsonianmag.com. Link
Abbott, A. (2021). COVID’s mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression. Nature, 590(7845), 194-195. Link
Scrivner, C., Johnson, J. A., Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, J., & Clasen, M. (2021). Pandemic practice: Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. Personality and individual differences, 168, 110397. Link