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article imageWhy horror movies make some scream while others laugh

By Aditi Chengappa     Aug 11, 2008 in Science
In this interesting study, an international team of German and American researchers unravel why horror movies make some scream while others laugh.
According to ANI report,
Dr Martin Reuter of the University of Bonn says that such wildly different reactions to horror films among people may be linked to different versions of a gene called COMT, linked to anxiety.
Reuter and his colleagues showed 96 women pictures of three categories, first-that were emotionally attractive such as animals or babies,
second-that were neutral-such as a power outlet or hairdryer, and third- aversive- such as weapons or injured victims at a crime scene.
The participants saw 12 pictures of each type for six seconds each.
A loud 35 millisecond white noise, called a startle probe, sounded at random while they watched.
When participants blinked, showing the startle response, a bioamplifier took readings from the electrodes, and sent the information to a computer for analysis.
According to the team, the version of the gene, and one copy of another version were able to control their emotions.
They also found that people with two copies of the latter gene were also able to keep a lid on their anxiety more easily.
A single gene variation, says Montag, can explain only a small portion of variation in anxious behaviour,otherwise, in theory, up to half the population could be anxious.
"This single gene variation is potentially only one of many factors influencing such a complex trait as anxiety," Telegraph quoted co-author Christian Montag, Dipl. Psych and one of the Bonn researchers as saying.
"Still, to identify the first candidates for genes associated with an anxiety-prone personality is a step in the right direction," he added.
It is a far deeper question as it has always been, why are we all so different and yet so alike, and what makes human beings more complex every minute, every new study is a step towards trying to understand each other better, however, if we are ever supposed to eat the forbidden fruit and learn the truth about ourselves and our roles on this planet is a question of destiny...yet to be seen.
More about Movies, Psychology, Scream, Laugh