It’s only girls that get scared by spiders, mice and horror movies right?
That’s the stereotype, but is there any truth in it?
Halloween is nearly upon us so we can expect DVD stores to be packed with horror and ‘slasher’ movies. I like a good scary, although rarely get the chance (my ‘other half’ hates them). Many women I know would also turn their nose up at anything in the ‘horror’ section of Blockbuster. So why is it that women don’t like scary movies as much? Perhaps they’re just pretending: statistics show that women actually enjoy horror movies just as much (and sometimes more) than men!
Are women more easily scared?
Recent research shows that women admit to getting more scared than men! A team of researchers from Italy found that women felt much more repulsed by watching gruesome movie scenes than men. And in separate study of 1,000 adults, women had significantly higher rates of being scared by spiders, heights and closed spaces than men. So the evidence is clear: women get scared more easily and need us big strong men to look after them!
But wait, there could be another answer…
Women are more honest!
Is the female body designed to react to frightening things in a different way? Or is it possible that men just don’t admit to getting scared as much? Recent research shows that physiological responses to watching scary movies (blood pressure, heart rate, etc) are just the same in men and women. Men and women’s body’s respond in the same way – men just don’t admit to it! Face it guys, you’re just as freaked out by Freddie Cruger in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ as the woman clinging tightly to your arm.
The perfect scary movie
You watch a horror movie to get scared right? So if you could design the ‘ultimate’ scary movie, what would be in it? If we were to take a scientific approach to this problem, the most common phobias in both men and women are:
- Closed Spaces
So let’s think of ideas: “people stuck in a box on the top of a cliff with snakes trying to get in…” No, that’s not going to work. How about: “A killer spider and snake attack at the top of a skyscraper”? Sounds pretty naff.
Got it! “Killer snakes unleashed in the tight confines of a airliner whilst at high altitude!” Sounds great! My cheque is in the post!
Wait, I think it’s already been done…
S Fischoff, J Antonio, D Lewis, Favorite films and film genres as a function of race, age, and gender, Journal of Media Psychology, Volume 3, Number 1, Winter, 1998
Mats Fredrikson, Peter Annas, HAkan Fischer, Gustav Wik, Gender and age differences in the prevalence of specific fears and phobias, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 1996, Pages 33-39
Maurizio Codispoti, Paola Surcinelli, Bruno Baldaro, Watching emotional movies: Affective reactions and gender differences, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Volume 69, Issue 2, August 2008, Pages 90-95