Good morning soulies! In the last few weeks, I’ve spent some time (too much probably 🙄) watching movies. New movies, older movies. Movies, movies, movies. A few were action packed but most were those gut wrenching, rip-your-heart-out, make-you-bawl-like-a-baby movies.
After watching me grab for the box of tissues again, my daughter asked me if I cry so much over these type of movies, why do I watch them?
So why do we like to watch those sappy, romantic, tear jerker movies?
Apparently I’m not the only one that has questioned our movie choices. Check out these research results:
One study found that women are more likely than men to respond to negative emotional stimuli in films (such as heartbreak, death, despair, and tears), while men are more likely to respond to positive emotional stimuli (like when the bad guy finally gets what’s coming to him).
Maybe this why I enjoy those romantic tear jerkers so much…
Life is full of nasty, terrible surprises-you just watch the evening news to see that-but it’s full of wonderful, happy ones as well. Most people, myself included, prefer happy endings in both movies and books. I want good to defeat evil. I want love to conquer all.
Now I know that in reality, in real life, that doesn’t always happen. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting it to. So why do we watch those movies that end in heartbreak instead? Why are we drawn to them? 🤔❓
According to experts, sad films make us feel empathy for others through the release of oxytocin.
Empathy is a vital aspect of emotional intelligence.
And when we empathize with other people (even fictional ones on screen), our brain releases oxytocin, which engages brain circuits that prompt us to care about others.
Exercising empathy makes us better able to connect to the real people around us, both right after viewing a sad film (in the form of hugs and shared tears) and later on, by training our oxytocin system.
Research shows fiction, in both literary and cinematic forms, greatly improves peoples capacity for empathy. In turn, we become more open-minded and understanding individuals, making us increasingly compassionate in our interactions with others.
There was even a study done to show proof of this theory:
In an experiment conducted by graduate students, participants were shown a video from St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.
One half of the group saw a portion of the video in which a father discusses the terminal brain cancer of his young son, Ben. The other half watched a part where Ben and his father visited the zoo.
The portion of the video in which Ben’s cancer was discussed was obviously more difficult to watch and produced a more emotional response.
But the participants who watched it exhibited a 47 percent increase of oxytocin as measured in blood, which also proved to alter their behavior in positive ways.
Afterward, all of the participants were asked to make choices involving money and other people.
Ultimately, the individuals who watched the more emotional segment were far more likely to be generous to strangers and give money to charity.
Wow! Who knew watching these types of movies would continue to affect us long after we watch them? 😮
But its not only adults that feel this rush of empathy. The video below, which I’m sure you’ve all seen before, only proves my point.
Yes, I have to admit it, I cried at the movie too.
I’ve even cried at Finding Dory and A Dog’s Purpose.
(My kids simply roll their eyes at me).
But I’m okay with that. So how about you? Do you enjoy sappy movies?