in Psychology

Immersion in fictional worlds allows us to own our dark side

Do you have a dark side? If so, do you feel comfortable exploring it? Some research suggests that the answer might be a resounding ‘no’. We strive to see ourselves as ‘good’ – indeed, people generally feel that, deep down, they are fundamentally honest and moral. In line with this, we tend to avoid the idea that darkness could lie within us. For example, people feel uncomfortable when faced with others who seem similar to them but ‘bad’ in some way, such as when they learn about a serial killer who happens to have the same favourite movie, food or song as them. Being similar to someone who seems emotionally unstable, rude, treacherous or otherwise ‘bad’ is distressing because it leads us to wonder: what’s stopping me from being that way too?

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