GUARDIAN: I feel fine: fans of world-ending films ‘coping better with pandemic’ Researchers say apocalyptic movies prepare people for Covid-19 and make them more resilient

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 23.32.24

 

Science editor
Published onWed 1 Jul 2020 19.05 BST

For those of you who whiled away hours on the sofa watching society crumble in the face of marauding zombies, deadly aliens and infectious diseases – it’s time to reap the rewards.

Psychologists have found evidence that fans of apocalyptic movies – where global order is upturned – may be more resilient and better prepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic than the rest of us.

The bleak scenarios thrown up by films such as Contagion, from panic buying and isolation to fear of others and fake claims of miracle cures, appeared to help viewers take the outbreak in their stride and work out how best to handle the crisis.

“If it’s a good movie, it pulls you in and you take the perspective of the characters, so you are unintentionally rehearsing the scenarios,” said Coltan Scrivner, a psychologist who specialises in morbid curiosity at the University of Chicago. “We think people are learning vicariously. It’s like, with the exception of the toilet paper shortage, they pretty much knew what to buy.”

The researchers questioned 310 volunteers on their movie preferences and viewing histories before asking them how prepared they felt going into the pandemic and what levels of anxiety, depression, irritability and sleepless they had experienced.

Published by petertlang

working to make things better if still possible

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