FilmFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:00 am

Why We Love to Get Scared

If you paid attention in your PSYC001 lecture like we did, then you’ll know that there’s a strong correlation between the physiological responses for fear and love. A lot of the physical symptoms of fear—sweating, faster heart rate, increased respiration—are the same symptoms that you experience with sexual arousal. It’s not the fear that turns you on, it’s that your body misinterprets your physical reaction as one of sexual stimulation. In fact, the Schachter–Singer theory tested this idea by making one group of men walk across a wobbly suspension bridge and the other walk across a safe, stable bridge. To simplify the results: after, men who went across the scary bridge were more sexually aroused. In addition, horror movies provide an emotional catharsis that is often associated with pleasure. So there you have it—science that explains why curling up with your special someone to watch “Silence of the Lambs” can be so damn arousing.

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