The scientists have set up a portable laboratory in the basement of a thrill haunted attraction to capture the emotions of people who pay money to be scared in real time. The visitors to the attraction had been experiencing a series of intense scenarios for 35 minutes, in which, in addition to sound and visual special effects, they were touched by actors, held down and exposed to electricity.
A group of 262 guests who had already purchased tickets to the thrill rides were selected for the study. Before entering, they were asked to fill out questionnaires and answer questions about their expectations and how they felt before visiting the ride. After the visit, participants filled out the questionnaire again and shared their impressions.
The researchers also used a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) machine for the study to compare the brain activity of 100 participants while performing various cognitive and emotional tasks before and after the ride.
The survey results proved that participants felt a decrease in anxiety and fatigue, as well as mood improvement after visiting the haunted attraction. The intense frightening sensation produced a feeling of happiness. Participants also reported feelings of pride and accomplishment as they dealt with their personal fears and learned more about themselves.
Analysis of EEG data revealed loss of brain reactivity after the ride in those participants who reported improved mood. In other words, experiencing intense and frightening sensations in a safe environment where everything is under control helps to “switch off” the brain to some extent, which helps improve mood.
Photos are from open sources.