When Date Night Is Fright Night

Alice Robb rounds up research on what a love of scary movies suggests about their watchers. Among her findings? Scary-movie aficionados are more likely to “be a man accompanied by a frightened woman”:

In an experiment in the 1980s, a team of psychologists led by Dolf Zillmann had 36 male and 36 female undergraduates watch a horror movie in opposite-sex pairs; each viewer had to evaluate their companion’s desirability before and after the movie, and answer questions about their experience of the film. Men were most likely to enjoy the movie when paired with a woman who was distressed by it, and least likely to enjoy if the woman was unperturbed. It didn’t make the woman more attractive, though: both men and women judged their companions as less desirable as “working mates” if they showed distress.