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'I'll Never Have a Clown in My House!' Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory
Unformatted Document Text:  Frightening Movies 1 "I’ll Never Have a Clown in My House" – Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory Abstract To explore lingering effects of frightening media, 530 papers written by students were reviewed. Students could write about their own or another person’s fright reaction. Almost all (93%) students wrote about their own experience, and 91% described fiction or fantasy rather than real content. Of the 91 papers written about the four movies cited most frequently, 46% reported an effect on bedtime behavior (e.g., sleep disturbances) and 75% reported effects on waking life (e.g., anxiety in related situations). Among the prominent effects on waking life were difficulty swimming after Jaws (in lakes and pools as well as the ocean), uneasiness around clowns, televisions, and trees after Poltergeist, avoidance of camping and the woods following The Blair Witch Project, and anxiety when home alone after Scream. More than 1/3 of the papers reported effects continuing to the present. These consequences are discussed in the context of research on emotional memory.

Authors: Cantor, Joanne.
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Frightening Movies
1
"I’ll Never Have a Clown in My House"
Frightening Movies and Enduring Emotional Memory
Abstract
To explore lingering effects of frightening media, 530 papers written by students were reviewed.
Students could write about their own or another person’s fright reaction. Almost all (93%)
students wrote about their own experience, and 91% described fiction or fantasy rather than real
content. Of the 91 papers written about the four movies cited most frequently, 46% reported an
effect on bedtime behavior (e.g., sleep disturbances) and 75% reported effects on waking life
(e.g., anxiety in related situations). Among the prominent effects on waking life were difficulty
swimming after Jaws (in lakes and pools as well as the ocean), uneasiness around clowns,
televisions, and trees after Poltergeist, avoidance of camping and the woods following The Blair
Witch Project, and anxiety when home alone after Scream. More than 1/3 of the papers reported
effects continuing to the present. These consequences are discussed in the context of research on
emotional memory.


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