WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Oct. 21 (UPI) — Giving yourself a good scare can seem fun, but there can be lingering aftereffects that impact people’s emotions for a long time, a U.S. researcher says.
A Purdue University expert has surveyed hundreds of people on the subject for many years and had made some discoveries about why people seek out things that scare them, a university release says.
“Most people who say they enjoy a good scare don’t realize that it isn’t the fear they enjoy,” Glenn Sparks, a professor of communication, says.
“Instead, some enjoy the relief that they made it through or the feeling that they have conquered the experience,” he says. “This feeling of mastery is especially common with adolescent males. Being scared is also an adrenaline rush that some people report as a positive experience.”
But there can be some frightening aftereffects to being scared, he says.
“Almost any adult can remember back to a scary movie or television show that caused so much fear that the emotional upset lingered for a few days, weeks or months,” he says. “Some may even still be haunted years later and express regret that they ever viewed the film. That is not healthy.”
Fear should be taken seriously, he says, and it is acceptable for people to avoid being scared.
“About one-third of the population actively seeks a good scare, another third avoids it and the remainder says it depends,” Sparks says. “There is nothing wrong with avoiding something that will scare you. It is important that people have a sense of what triggers their fears, and if it’s a concern, avoid it.”
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