How horror books affect our lives
Author: John Landrum
It goes without saying that books affect our mind. But how do they influence? Horror and other genres that use fear are meant to frighten us. They effectively focus on forbidden desires, fears, anxiety, dark sides of the personality, wars, hunger to get fears hidden deep in the subconscious. Scary books appeal to the primitive nature and fears of a man: his vulnerability, society or separation from it, loss of self-identification, fears of death, essay writing assignments. These are the most primitive sides, which both attract and repel us simultaneously. It is interesting that teenagers frequently take methods from such fiction. For example, in China, the Death Note, The Ring, and The Ring-2 were banned, because the amount of violence increased and teens copied the behavior of the characters from the film. In Russia, there was also an accident when a group of teenagers killed the girl in the forest and drank her blood. This is the consequence of reading about vampires. But how scary books affect our lives? And why horror is good for you?
Horror as the artificial way to feel a threat
Psychologists have noticed that fans of horror books are more aggressive comparing to those who enjoy classic fiction literature. Aggressiveness, which is a personality trait, lies in the readiness to use violent methods in the process of achieving goals. When reading horror books, people experience emotions of fear, anxiety, and have the opportunity to overcome them, cope with fear together with the characters of a story. The situation of reading a fiction creates more or less comfortable conditions for the reader. The events depicted in a story cannot cause real harm, the reader is in complete safety, and realizes it. A reader can cope with the threat, and adapt to such an imaginary-real threatening situation.
At the University of Texas, there was a study based on the influence of scary literature pieces on the human psyche and its aggressiveness. The group of scientists came to the conclusion that horror books train human nerves. The head of the study, professor of clinical psychology David Rudd, says that reading these books, we get a kind of pleasure because our brain assesses the reality of the threat. Realizing that there is no danger, in reality, the reader experiences exciting emotions from the adrenaline release. The feeling of fear, which repeats all the time, causes a certain ‘habit’ in the brain. The habit of adrenaline can lead to adrenaline dependence, constant reading of frightening stories and the desire to take risks.
Small doses of adrenaline are useful
Another interesting fact, the number of fans of scary books is growing. In recent years, these books have grown up to 65%. This is the result of the fact that the culture is becoming more humane, and people do not have enough adrenaline in the ordinary life. In addition, earlier conditions of life were much worse, and people constantly faced danger in the form of predators, fatal and non-fatal diseases. Today, the humanity does not have such notions and threatens. The lack of adrenaline, which stands out in fear, we get from climbing, horrors, films, hiking, etc. Someone have crocodiles, bears, or tigers as pets. People lack natural adrenaline. And they try to get it artificially. Small doses of adrenaline are useful for people. Fear does not harm if it is not of a permanent nature, and is not expressed too strongly.
We have to admit that the greatest desire to read the horrors children have from 6 to 12 years. Moreover, children start telling stories each other about frightening stories in schools or camps. These are the same horror films in miniature that represented your imagination. I remember how everyone was afraid, but everyone kept listening.
There are people who talk about the dangers of horror books’ influence on children’s psyche. Many diverse studies have shown the influence of information on elements of aggression and violence on the psyche of children and adults. However, the researchers do not divide fiction with violence and horror stories. And, there are no special studies on the influence of scary books on children. And there are psychological thriller books, where there is no violence at all, or it is not enough.
To sum up, scary films have negative and positive impacts as well. However, there is much more positive over the negative ones. So, children may, and children should read horror.