To this day, I still haven't seen any of the Halloween movies, mostly due to the enduring childhood trauma of my older brother playing the theme song, in order to terrorize me. I'm not sure if that's where I can trace the origin of my inability to get through anything scarier than A Quiet Place, but either way, I can't stand horror movies. It's exactly why I will read the Wikipedia page of a scary movie (hello, Hereditary) instead of seeing it to avoid FOMO without actually having to see the movie.
If you can't stand horror movies either, there are few reasons why.
For starters, some people enjoy feeling more intense emotions. This is called a "need for affect," and a 2010 study found that people with this desire tend to like horror movies. As for the rest of us, we might just not get as much out of feeling all the feelings.
And just as how some people are naturally more thrill-seeking than others, some of us just react to fear differently. Margee Kerr, sociologist and author of Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, says that different people respond to threats in different ways.
"There are folks who have had a bad experience with horror movies or scary content and associate all things scary with negativity," she says. "[It's] basic fear conditioning, for them it's just not fun and never has been."
Kerr also says that some people see scary movies as an outlet for safely experiencing stress and anxiety without real-world consequences, but of course, some of us don't feel that way.
"It really all depends on if people want to be scared — their expectations — and the content they like," she says. "Psychologically when we make it through a safe yet scary activity it results in feelings of confidence, competence, accomplishment, and success — it can be a real self-esteem boost."
But if, like me, you like to keep all aspects of your life as chill as possible and don't want to be scared, that's totally cool and valid, too.