Tales of post-apocalyptic landscapes in which few survivors emerge into a new and much different world have long been popular tales woven by screenwriters and authors.
Tales of post-apocalyptic landscapes in which few survivors emerge into a new and much different world have long been popular tales woven by screenwriters and authors. While many enjoy these stories, thinking of them as nothing but a guilty pleasure, they may not realize that immersing themselves in fiction has prepared them for the reality of 2020, according to a team of researchers.
John Johnson, professor emeritus of psychology at Penn State, recently conducted research with several colleagues revealing that an individual’s enjoyment of horror films could have better prepared them for the COVID-19 pandemic as opposed to others who do not enjoy frightening entertainment. Their findings are documented in Personality and Individual Differences.
“My latest research collaboration was unique in that my colleagues wanted to identify factors beyond personality that contributed to people's psychological preparedness and resilience in the face of the pandemic,” Johnson explained. “After factoring out personality influences, which were actually quite strong, we found that the more movies about zombies, alien invasions and apocalyptic pandemics people had seen prior to COVID-19, the better they dealt with the actual, current pandemic. These kinds of movies apparently serve as mental rehearsal for actual events.
Read more at Penn State
Images: Zombie and other horror and science fiction movies and TV shows may have prepared viewers for the current pandemic. (Credit: Patrick Mansell, Penn State)