Coltan Scrivner

Bleeding-Heart Horror Fans

  • Applied Psychology
  • Communication
  • Social Psychology

Abstract: The horror genre portrays some of the most graphic and violent scenes in media. How and why some people find enjoyment in such a graphic genre is an age-old question. One hypothesis is that people lower in prosocial traits such as empathy and compassion are more likely to enjoy horror. We found evidence against this hypothesis across three studies. Study 1 demonstrated that enjoyment of horror movies was unrelated to affective empathy, negatively associated with coldheartedness, and positively associated with cognitive empathy. A preregistered follow-up study found that measures of empathy and coldheartedness were unrelated to how many horror movies a participant had seen. In Study 3, enjoyment of horror movies was unrelated to the amount of money a participant decided to donate to a less fortunate participant. These findings contradict beliefs from the public about horror fans possessing lower levels of prosocial traits such as empathy and compassion. They also put into question findings from older studies about the relationship between empathy and enjoyment of horror media.

Need a simple solution for managing your BibTeX entries? Explore CiteDrive!

  • Web-based, modern reference management
  • Collaborate and share with fellow researchers
  • Integration with Overleaf
  • Comprehensive BibTeX/BibLaTeX support
  • Save articles and websites directly from your browser
  • Search for new articles from a database of tens of millions of references
Try out CiteDrive

More from our Archive