Why we love to feel scared: We get a kick out of it

The study shows why people continue to expose themselves to things they know are going to cause an unpleasant emotional experience.

By: Indo-Asian News Service | New York | Updated: July 6, 2015 12:13 pm
scared-main Ever wondered why so many people are hooked to action-packed video games? (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Ever wondered why so many people are hooked to action-packed video games? It is because playing scares us more than watching films and we get a kick out of it, says a study.

Researchers surveyed 269 students about their experiences with games, including Resident Evil and Call of Duty. Close to half of those surveyed, 44 percent, said they enjoyed feeling scared, Daily Mail reported.

The researchers from Indiana University asked the subjects about their experiences with popular video games including ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’.

Men reported enjoying and playing more frightening games than women. But, notably, no differences emerged in how frequently the sexes experienced fear.

They also had the same kind of fear.

“It was interesting to see how the fright reactions that people had, how the emotional experiences that they were having, differed from those reported with non-interactive media,” said co-researcher Teresa Lynch.

“There a lot more of these anxious feelings…and an enjoyment of that fear,” Lynch said.

“That answers one part of the question of why do people continue to expose themselves to these aversive stimuli, why do they continue to expose themselves to these things that they know are going to cause an unpleasant emotional experience?”

“It’s because to some degree, in some way, they’re getting pleasure out of it,” she said.

The study was published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

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