A new research has found watching sad drama movies is a catalyst for stronger bonds and increased pain tolerance.
Researchers at the University of Oxford started a new research into the phenomenon of sad movies. According to the research lead evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, why do people go back to see sad movies when they make them cry?
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At the end of their research the team concluded watching sad movies is a way of improving social bonds with whom the movie is watched. Furthermore the practice also increases an individual’s tolerance for physical pain.
It seems when people watch sad movies chemicals called endorphins are released in the brain. These feel good chemicals increase the resistance to pain and increases social bonding between surrounding people. Watching a sad drama movie in the theater is a way to release these chemicals in the brain.
Dunbar along with his team recruited 169 volunteers which were made to watch the made-for-TV film called Stuart: A Life Backwards. The movie depicts the sad life of a sexually abused disabled homeless man struggling with substance addiction and who ultimately commits suicide.
Dunbar and colleagues report people were leaving in tears after watching the film, according to ScienceDaily. Another set of 68 volunteers were made to watch two boring BBC documentaries called The Museum of Life and Landscape Mysteries “In Search of Irish Gold”.
Before and after watching the film and the documentaries the groups were given two tests. One test measured their sense of belonging while the other measures their pain sensitivity. The group which saw the sad movie had 18% increased sensitivity to pain than the other group.
The results have been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The group watching the sad movie also had an increase in their sense of social bonding.