You may probably have wondered why some people tend to enjoy watching scary movies but you on the other hand don’t have the stomach for it. The fact is it’s perfectly normal to not enjoy being scared.
It’s that time of the year again when TV screens are flooded with scary movie marathons and theaters are inundated with thrill-seekers pursuing the latest frightening film. And then there are those select few people who absolutely despise scary movies. If you are one of those that fall into the latter category, the good news is that it is totally normal.
There are a number of different factors contributing to why someone might hate the same scary movie that someone else might love. It’s no surprise that one of the reasons stems from childhood experiences and the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls your fight-or-flight response.
Some people, when they were growing up, for one reason or another, have a more active amygdala. And the amygdala of those people happen to be much more developed than others.
The origin of why/how the amygdala is more active is usually found in trauma that someone may have experienced, including but not limited to, attachment and bonding deficits from early caregivers, birth trauma, neglect, malnutrition, poverty, substance abuse, etc.
Another reason may be because some people are just “wired” differently. In other words, some people simply have a higher tolerance to anxiety and fear than others. This “wiring” may also coincide with experiences from childhood.
Scary movies also tend to trigger increased adrenaline production in the body and an overall boost in brain activity. This sensation can be experienced either positively or negatively, depending upon the person experiencing it.
Those experiencing a positive reaction allow themselves to thoroughly enjoy the thrill and increased heart rate. In fact, this increased heart rate can even burn calories. For others, achieving this level of enjoyment is much harder, if not impossible.
The excess adrenaline may trigger anxiety and panic attacks, thus resulting in negative and sometimes traumatizing experiences. Furthermore, people with overactive amygdala so may have such as a result of the excitation-transfer theory.
For people with that overactive amygdala, they can develop a generalized anxiety that pops up whenever there is an unknown, it can either be directly after watching something like a scary movie or hearing a song that triggers them back to an earlier memory.
Lastly, while it is not true that all of those who experience negativity associated with scary movies are highly sensitive people, a lot of them tend to fall into that category.
A highly sensitive person (HSP) has a tendency to be overstimulated by their environment—whether it’s due to bright lights, stress, social situations, etc. This does not exclude scary movies, where a HSP may experience the intensity at an entirely different level than those who are not highly sensitive.