Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Enjoyment of Horror Media Is Not Related to Reduced Empathy or Compassion

Scrivner, Coltan. 2022. “Bleeding-heart Horror Fans: Enjoyment of Horror Media Is Not Related to Reduced Empathy or Compassion.” PsyArXiv. June 20. doi:10.31234/osf.io/rhc23

Abstract: The horror genre portrays some of the most graphic and violent scenes in media. Because of this, those who enjoy horror may be perceived to be deficient in prosocial traits. In Study 1, I found empirical evidence for the anecdotal observation that people perceive horror fans to be low in empathy, compassion, and kindness. In Study 2, I found that enjoyment of horror movies is either unrelated or positively related to measures of empathy and compassion. In Study 3, participants who had previously reported how much they enjoyed five horror subgenres played a dictator game. Enjoyment of horror and the five subgenres was unrelated to how much money a participant decided to donate to a less fortunate participant. These findings contradict long-held beliefs from the public about horror fans possessing lower levels of empathy and compassion. They also question older findings about the relationship between empathy and horror fandom, suggesting that the relationship has little to do with how much one enjoys horror or the type of horror they enjoy.

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