OCT 31, 2017 7:29 AM PDT

Can a Good Scare Be Good for You?


Scary movies have been around since the first silent films were made. In the 40s and 50s, the most popular radio programs were those in which spooky tales were told, complete with sound effects. While not everyone likes horror movies, research at the University of Westminster in the UK suggested that there could be a health benefit to them. As it happens, some people can burn calories watching a scary movie.

The study asked ten people to watch ten different horror movies. The one that participants found most scary and shriek-inducing was the 1980s film The Shining with Jack Nicholson. One of the participants burned 184 calories while watching the movie, all just from jumping or squirming in the seat and screaming. That's about the same number of calories that a person could burn taking a 40-minute walk. The study had a very small sample group, no control group for comparison and was not peer-reviewed, but it raised some interesting questions. Other research shows that the brain releases neurotransmitters and hormones that could elevate mood. The problem with some of the research, however, was that it only included participants who liked horror movies.Many people choose not to see these movies and might not have the same reaction.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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