I absolutely LOATHE being scared. I don’t want scary movies or even suspenseful tv shows by myself. I just refuse to be scared and reason my way out of the feeling with sarcasm and snarky remarks. That being said, I absolutely LOVE Halloween and would consider it to be my favorite holiday. I even go to haunted houses and actually find a TINSY bit of enjoyment from those jump scares. Those sentences were contradicting, but many people feel this way. You don’t like it, but at the same time you love it! Why do humans like to being scared?
What is fear? Fear is your body’s natural response to an identified threat. Fear is a very complex emotion and can often be confused with having anxiety over something. Some fears are something you are born with and others are learned. For example, in the article it states that there are really only two fears that humans and animals have. The fear of falling from great heights and the fear of loud noises are the only two fears that you were truly born with. Another point the article made is that fears we’ve learned, like thunderstorms or bugs, are actually learned from others in our environment. For example if an older sister showed a fear of thunderstorms, a younger child might develop the same fear as a learned behavior. In the case of more dangerous fears, scientists believe that our ancestors originally feared these things because they were essentially deadly and we have had these fears past down through time.
One way to distinguish fear from anxiety is your fight or flight response. When the body is put in a dangerous situation, changes happen and this is called fight or flight. One change that happens is that the body releases adrenaline. Adrenaline gets your body ready to either run or fight off the perceived threat. According to the article above, not only does adrenaline get released but also dopamine. Dopamine is our pleasure hormone and that could be one of the reasons we like to be scared. Another reason discussed in the article is that we enjoy being scared in a safe environment. If we know that the perceived threat isn’t truly going to harm us, we enjoy it more. So go ahead and enjoy your jump scares, you adrenaline junkie!