Last year over 30 million Americans visited a haunted house attraction. Salt Lake City haunted houses always have hoards of people ready to scream, shriek and build up materials for their nightmares. But why? Psychology has an explanation.
If you are wondering why we seek out terrifying experiences in Salt Lake City haunted houses and elsewhere, psychologists have a simple answer for it: our brains are wired to enjoy it. Here are four reasons why.
#1 Haunted attractions give us a natural high.
The brain is programmed to help us react in certain ways in order to ensure survival. When a haunted house triggers our natural fight-or-flight response, our brains experience a natural influx of chemicals—even if the threat doesn’t really put our life in danger.
The brain’s response to a stimulating experience like a Salt Lake City haunted house is to release a chemical called dopamine. This chemical gives us a feeling of euphoria when released, and it motivates us to repeat the experience.
#2 Haunted houses make us feel accomplished.
Making it through the gauntlet of ghouls, fiends, otherworldly apparitions, and the undead, gives visitors to Salt Lake City haunted houses a sense of achievement. We feel like we have prevailed over both the frightening outside environment and their inner fear. (Go us!)
#3 We experience a pleasing set of emotions.
Salt Lake City haunted house provides visitors with an environment where they know they will be scared, but then reveals there is no real danger. This means we can enjoy the fear. Have you noticed that most people in a haunted house often laugh and smile after the jump in fear? Psychology helps understand why simulated terror results in enjoyment.
#4 Haunted houses appeal to universal human emotions.
As humans, we have been conditioned to react to situations in very specific ways. Salt Lake City haunted houses play off fears that are found universally across cultures. This means your reaction to specific characters or settings in a haunted house has more to do with human evolution than you’re your individual brain. Here are a few common themes that appear in horror films, stories, and haunted houses around the globe and through time:
Defying the laws of nature – Ghosts, demons, and spirits fall into this category with their ability to transcend the normal life and death cycle. Beings that break this fundamental law of nature universally frighten us.
Half human/half other – Creatures that resemble a human but have characteristics of another being disrupt our understanding of the world, which triggers anxiety in our brain. Stories have come from around the world about goatmen, sheepmen, and pigmen—but when we know they aren’t real, we can derive enjoyment from their tales.
Blank and evil – When a creature takes a human form and has evil intentions, our brain triggers a flight-or-fight mentality to help us survive. But when the monster conveys no human expression (think zombies, evil robots, masked killers) it multiplies our lack of understanding and anxiety. The brain again tells us to protect ourselves by triggering a survival response.
Why fight your fear-loving brain? It wants you to enjoy the hair-raising, nightmare-inducing, blood-curdling experience of Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus, the scariest Salt Lake City Haunted House.
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