WebMD: The science of horror response
UC expert explains how hormones affect reaction to scary movies
It's Halloween season, where horror lovers flock to haunted houses and watch scary movies while the scaredy cats try to avoid all things spooky.
But what are the underlying reasons that determine whether you love the thrill of feeling scared or hate it?
Shana Feibel, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry & behavioral neuroscience in the College of Medicine and a psychiatrist at the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason, said part of a person's response to being scared comes down to levels of hormones like epinephrine and oxytocin in the body.
"Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is secreted in the blood when someone is watching a scary film,” Feibel told WebMD. “It causes the sympathetic nervous system to take over and creates a feeling of fight or flight, which prepares the body to respond to a perceived threat.”
Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.