Fear is a human, or rather animal, reaction that is fundamental and connected to our biological evolution during the course of history. Fear is perceived in the presence of a threat and can be simple or complex, but why do some people like to feel fear or not ?
Speaking in terms of psychology but also biology, the major chemicals that contribute to the fight or flight response we experience when faced with a threat often mix with other human emotional states, such as happiness or even excitement .
Fear forms in our brain and spreads throughout the body in order to trigger the “fight or flight” reaction we just talked about, exactly, this happens in the amygdala. In general, this is activated with emotions but the most important reaction is when we experience fear or anger.
Thanks to this, the amygdala also activates the other areas involved in the preparation of motor functions that are involved in fight or flight activities . It also releases stress hormones and activates the sympathetic nervous system.
The brain becomes hypervigilant and involves bodily changes such as dilation of the pupils, that of the bronchi, acceleration of breathing and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Blood flow and glucose flow to skeletal muscles also increase, to the detriment of organs not needed at that time.
We recently talked about why we are afraid of the dark , for example, and now we also know how our brain reacts when we feel fear! So why do some people find it rewarding to get scared ? Or why does someone like to see horror ?
Mainly, fear can be a pleasant experience because it distracts us, distracts us, from our daily problems, such as work, study. Fear, on the other hand, forces us to focus on the imminent present.
Later we can instead say that when we reach a state of awareness for which we cannot seriously consider something that does not exist as a threat, the experience of fear turns into entertainment.
In practice, past the “fight or flight” phase, the next sensation is likely to be pleasant or satisfying. We are not really threatened so we rationally process the event by feeling a sense of fleeting fear.
If some people like it, why do others hate it ? Well, the answer isn’t that complicated.
Some people fail to get through the “fight or flight” phase as they often perceive experiences as too real and close to reality , which is likely even for the most superstitious people. In other words, a person can appreciate films about Freddy Krueger and enjoy them quietly but at the same time avoid films like “The Exorcist” because they are too “realistic”.