New study reveals emotional impact of cinema
Nearly a fifth of UK cinema-goers believe watching a film provides an emotional release, according to a new study by Empire Cinemas.
Happiness is the most important reason for selecting a film, said 65% of the 2000 adults polled online in July 2015. This result was higher than laughter (58%), adrenaline (24%) and sadness (18%). One in ten respondents even claimed that watching a film at the cinema had helped them tackle difficult issues in their personal lives.
Despite sadness only being the reason for 18% of cinema visits, almost one in five respondents claimed the last time they cried was while watching a tearjerker film at the cinema. A further 5% admitted to crying more during a particularly sad film than they did during the breakup of their last relationship.
Psychologist Dr David Lewis said of the results: “An emotion-provoking movie offers an opportunity to display intense feelings in public without restraint or embarrassment. When it comes to tear jerking scenes, such as the moment ET goes home, the emotional benefits are great. The chance to weep openly and without social discomfort can prove profoundly cathartic. Emotional tears contain an array of beneficial substances such as Leu-enkephalin, a natural painkiller. As a result such tears reduce stress and make it easier to deal with other aspects of our lives.”
In contrast, romantic comedies appear to bring British couples together, with one in seven saying they felt closer to their partner after indulging in a romcom. Surprisingly, more men than women believe that going to the cinema to watch a romantic comedy is good for their relationship, with 16% of men compared to just 11% of women.
Comedy is has helped many Brits through difficult periods, with 32% saying funny flicks help relieve stress and one fifth saying comedy films have helped them through difficult personal issues. The benefits go beyond helping a viewer feel better about their situation however, with 20% believing that they feel ‘funnier’ after viewing a comedy film. Monty Python’s Life of Brian’s “what have the Romans ever done for us?” scene was voted funniest film moment.
Dr David Lewis said: “The belly laughs produced by a film like Monty Python’s Life of Brian gives our whole body a great aerobic workout. Unrestrained laughter massages the digestive system, increases blood flow to brain and muscles, exercises the lungs and triggers the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. One of these, dopamine, has been described as the ‘gas pedal of pleasure’ creating sensations of intense delight.”
Watching an action film may also have beneficial effects for cinemagoers, as 23% of survey respondents claimed they believed watching an action film was good for them. One in ten said that they were able to work more efficiently after watching an action film, while 13% said that the cinema provides their adrenalin fix in a safe environment.
That’s right, watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens might be good for you.