Thursday, January 07, 2010

run for your life

As a psychologist, one of my favorite puzzles is the motivation to experience pain and unpleasantness, something the psychologist Paul Rozin has called “benign masochism.” The best examples here are the pleasures of the imagination. There are millions who pay to see movies that terrify them, including those with scenes of imaginative and horrific torture. Others prefer sadness to fear. They are drawn to the suicidal prince, the young mother dying of cancer, the school bus and the cliff. Hundreds of years ago, David Hume marveled at the “unaccountable pleasure” that spectators of a tragedy feel from sorrow, terror, and anxiety: “The more they are touched and affected, the more they are delighted with the spectacle.”

NYT | The Long and Short of It

1 comment:

Vivian said...

I'm the opposite. I mostly watch comedies (and some dark comedies, I guess) in theaters because I don't want to ~escape~ to a sad place...if that makes sense