Pandemic movies or those that depict apocalypse not only immerse people in crisis, but they also might prepare them if one should happen. According to new research, post-apocalyptic movies may give fans a practical and mental advantage in today's pandemic crisis.

Coltan Scrivner, a psychologist who specializes in morbid curiosity at the University of Chicago, said, "if it's a good movie, it pulls you in and you take the perspective of the characters, so you are unintentionally rehearsing the scenarios."

He added that people are now learning through the experience of another person or imagination as they watch post-apocalyptic movies. It's as if these people would already know what essentials to buy, with the exception of toilet paper shortage.

Post-Apocalyptic Movies Are "A Gift From Natural Selection"

According to the authors of the preprint study, books and movies that tackle apocalypse are a "gift from natural selection," because they prepare fans in navigating a world in chaos through fiction.

These imaginary narratives could give people the mental opportunity to play out dangerous cataclysm all in the comfort and safety of their homes, although the world is nowhere near yet of being invaded by aliens as of the moment.

To find out if this really works in real life, the researchers asked 310 volunteers of their preferred movies, how prepared they felt when a pandemic strikes, and if there were times when they experienced any levels of anxiety, depression, irritability, and sleeplessness.

This is to assess whether horror or apocalyptic movies that depict scenarios somewhat similar to the current crisis had prepared them any better. It turns out they had.

The researchers found that fans of horror movies showed greater resilience during the pandemic and fans of 'prepper movies' or those that show alien invasion, apocalypse, and zombie films have exhibited both greater resilience and preparedness during the current crisis.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, those exhibiting a sense of morbid curiosity were driven to watch movies like Contagion and showed greater resilience during the crisis than other people.

Even considering factors such as age, sex, an affinity for movies, and other personality traits like neuroticism and conscientiousness, the researchers found evidence that frightening imaginary events helped some people cope with the pandemic crisis.

Read also: Which Personality Type Is More Likely to Panic Buy? Are You One of Them?

What Drives People to Watch Morbid Movies?

Delving into the fictional world of prepper movies help fans to learn how to react in a pandemic, whether they know it or not, and some psychologists think that the information gained while watching such movies could be valuable in the real world.

For instance, it tells a person what social conflicts are likely to arise amid chaos and which institutions people can genuinely rely on, and what the world may look like if people start acting selfishly and uncooperatively.

Scientists said that many people watched Contagion as it depicts a real-life scenario of what could happen during the pandemic. They suggest that morbid curiosity might have driven people to watch these films.

But some also say that watching movies of this genre could be a type of sensation-seeking behavior, a desire tied to achieve greater arousal and enjoyment of horror films.

Read more: Psychotherapist Reveals How Easing of Restrictions Could Lead People to Feel Anxious and Overwhelmed