How Scary Movies Affect Your Body

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Love a good scare? Here's what happens inside your body when a horror movie startles you. An almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala makes a snap judgment. It decides you've seen or heard something to be afraid of. And it fires off an alarm signal.

Another section of your brain called the thalamus catches it. It then sends out signals of its own through nerves that lead to your adrenal glands. The result? A burst of adrenaline courses through your blood, making your heart beat faster, your breath quicken, and your senses sharpen.

All of this happens before you even have time to think, whoa, I'm scared! That's because it's part of your fight-or-flight response. This reaction helps you get ready to confront or run from real-life threats, too. Maybe that's part of why some of us love scary movies. The danger isn't real, but the adrenaline rush and the ensuing relief are.