The Current

How feeling frightened can be therapeutic for some

Turning to fear-inducing experiences may not seem like the best way to ease anxiety but a sociologist who studies fear says people can experience many benefits from daring adventures.

There's a cathartic and therapeutic value to being scared, says sociologist

Sociologist Margee Kerr suggests people get to know their fears because being scared can allow us to learn about ourselves. (Getty Images)
Listen23:53

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'Tis the night to indulge in the creepy and downright haunting experiences that lurk on Halloween night.

But what draws people to fear?

For experts who study the visceral reaction, they say there's a cathartic and therapeutic value to being scared.

The Current's guest host Laura Lynch examines how shivering fright can lead to something good with the following guests: 

  • David Zald, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.
  • Margee Kerr, an adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, and author of Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear

Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.


Produced by Idella Sturino and Samira Mohyeddin.

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