General Question

Haroot's avatar

Why do people scare themselves and enjoy seeing others scared?

Asked by Haroot (2118points) May 28th, 2009

I was playing a horror flash game called “The House”, knowing I was probably going to get freaked out, and did get freaked out. Later, I was with a friend and had him play it. I couldn’t stop laughing at how scared he was getting.

So A) Why do people, despite knowing there will be negative consequences, still play survival-horror game, watch horror films, visit haunted house, etc… and B) Why do people get such a kick out of seeing someone else get scared?

These are both assuming it’s not just me.

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7 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

Adrenaline rush maybe? That’s about all I can think of. Or perhaps watching a scary movie is an excuse to cuddle up to someone haha. I never really thought about it that hard, good question.

dynamicduo's avatar

I found this question and answer to be insightful. It supports the theory that yes, it’s because we love adrenaline, and watching a movie is a very safe way to get our brains to produce it. Heh, when I phrase it like that, one could argue that an action movie is like a drug :)

Grisaille's avatar

Bah, it’s so hard to find something actually scary nowadays.

Everything is cheap thrills or torture-porn.

The Japanese know how to do scary right, feeding into the senses, building up tension and giving the viewer the feeling of uncomfort.

I hate you, Hollywood.

Fyrius's avatar

I’d say A would indeed just be the thrill of being frightened.
Even if it’s a negative emotion, it’s still a strong emotion, and I figure any strong emotion one could end up liking. Just like it can feel very satisfying at times to be angry or grumpy or to cry your eyes out.
I think that’s also why people like to watch tragedies or news reports of horrible accidents, and why people like to rant.

As for B: I don’t share this reaction, but I imagine it might be a sort of Schadenfreude, being glad the thing you hate is happening to someone else for a change.

ishecrazy29's avatar


I guess it’s the rush of adreneline (that “fight or flight” feeling) that is felt that allows people to enjoy being scared.

Also it’s the feeling that something COULD happen that probably won’t.

MacBean's avatar

There are a couple of detailed answers to a similar question here that you might be interested in!

cyn's avatar

play murder in the dark!
you should’ve seen my friend’s face

just look at yourself in the mirror when you get scared.

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