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Social and behavioural, Stress and anxiety

Episode 35: Why do we enjoy playing with fear?

Ella Rhodes explores the paradoxical world of recreational fear, and discovers interesting ways in which a good scare might psychologically benefit us.

26 October 2023

By PsychCrunch

This is Episode 35 of PsychCrunch, the podcast of the British Psychological Society's Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology.

From haunted houses to scary movies, many of us find a thrill in a good scare. But… isn't that a bit counter-intuitive? 

In this episode, we ask why so many of us are drawn to things that should make us run a mile. Host Ella Rhodes speaks with Director of The Recreational Fear Lab, Dr Mathias Clasen, and Cambridge University PhD student Lucie Daniel-Watanabe to discover why fear isn't always to be feared. 

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Episode Credits:

Written and hosted by Ella Rhodes.
Mixed and edited by Jeff Knowler.
Edited by Emma Barratt.

Missed previous episodes? Get up to date via our PsychCrunch collection page.

Not done learning about fear? 

Get into Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe's look at the psychology of fear, fright-nights and exploring the unknown. 
Or if coping with fear piques your interest, why not explore what children know about managing fear with this piece by Christian Jarrett.
Still curious? Dive deeper into our guest Dr Mathias Clasen's work with The Recreational Fear Lab right here.

PsychCrunch is sponsored by Routledge Psychology

Routledge Psychology is part of the Taylor & Francis Group, and publishing partner for the BPS Core Textbooks Series. Browse over 5 million articles, and related books. BPS members are entitled to a 25% discount on all books published by Routledge – find your discount code here and visit the dedicated BPS Member page at Routledge here.