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Fans of apocalyptic movies like Contagion and 28 Days Later are more resilient and better prepared to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, study claims

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Daily Mail
July 3, 2020

Movies that portray the end of the world or post-apocalyptic scenarios – known as ‘prepper’ films – have helped viewers deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a study claims. 

Psychologists have found that people who have been watching movies depicting social chaos and the collapse of global order are better prepared for the virus.

Fans of ‘prepper’ genres, including alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films, exhibited higher levels of resilience and preparedness in experiments.

Those people who had been watching horror films in the last few months also showed greater psychological resilience to the viral pandemic.

The researchers say an exposure to frightening fiction allows audiences to practice coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations.

Viewers ‘learn vicariously’ and are ‘unintentionally rehearing the scenarios’ when watching films like Contagion and 28 Days Later, and TV shows like The Walking Dead.

‘Our ability to imaginatively inhabit virtual worlds – worlds of our own making, as well as those conveyed by movies and books – is a gift from natural selection,’ study author Mathias Clasen, a psychologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, told the Guardian.

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‘[It’s] a bit of biological machinery that evolved because it gave our ancestors an edge in the struggle for survival.

‘If you’ve watched a lot of what we call prepper movies, you will have vicariously lived through massive social upheavals, states of martial law, people responding in both pro-social and dangerously selfish ways to a sudden catastrophic event.

‘Compared to somebody who has never simulated the end of the world, you’ll be in a better place because you have that vicarious experience.’

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This article was posted: Friday, July 3, 2020 at 3:48 am

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