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The Lure of Horror

31 Oct

From The British Psychological Society Archives

“Viewing the content of horror fiction
through the prism of evolutionary
evidence and theory, it’s no surprise that the overriding theme of many tales is that the characters are at risk of being eaten.”

Fresh from a study visit to the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Clasen believes the timeless, cross-cultural appeal of horror fiction says something important about humans, and in turn, insights from evolutionary psychology can make sense of why horror takes the form it does. “You can use horror fiction and its lack of historical and cultural variance as an indication that there is such a thing as human nature,” he says. This nature of ours is one that has been shaped over millennia to be afraid, but not just of anything. Possibly our ancestors’ greatest fear was that they might become a feast for a carnivorous predator. As science writer David Quammen has put it, “among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.”

Click here to read the entire article

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in General

 

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