It turns out a good scary story can help you cope with fear IRL

There seem to be two camps in the world when it comes to choosing a movie to watch before bed. There are those who don’t mind being a little scared when the lights are out and those who hate any hint of fear in their entertainment.

But if you’re team #noscary, you should know that science says there may be some benefits to feeling the fright now and again.

According to a study by the online seller, The Book People, that was published in the The Guardian, psychologists believe that exposure to scary stories can act as a practice run for children and adults. They can teach them how to cope with the fear emotions in case they’re faced with it in real life.


“How can you feel safe and secure until you know what it’s like to be afraid?” psychologist Emma Kenny said to the Guardian.

She makes the point that with scary stories, the children are able to put the book away and feel safe whenever they want. This mechanism could help build a foundation that allows them to cope more comfortably in the future in similar situations.

“The world can be a scary place — children will get into situations where they’re told off by teachers, or fall out with friends. Knowing how to confront fear is a good thing.”

We know that getting through a scary movie with your sanity in tact isn’t an easy feat, and sociologist Margee Kerr, who calls herself a “scare specialist” because she studies fear, says we get a legit boost from making in through the fear. She told The Atlantic in 2012:

“Think about the last time you made it through a scary movie, or through a haunted house. You might have thought, ‘yes! I did it! I made it all the way through! So it can be a real self-esteem boost.”


So, next time your significant other suggests watching that horror movie you literally shield your eyes from every time the preview comes on, maybe give it a go and face your fears.

[h/t New York magazine]