And in today’s “so there!” science news, a new study has just found evidence proving that watching TV (or consuming any kind of fiction, really) is actually good for you. Sort of. At least, it numbs you to the pain of real life.
Per the BBC, Royal Society journal Open Science has published a study positing that not only is fiction a vital part of human civilization and social bonding, but that watching dramatic films incites a release of endorphins that will temporarily increase your tolerance for physical pain. Like Ibuprofin for the soul.
But if you want in on that sweet painkilling action, a dry documentary’s not going to cut it–it’s the emotional response we have to dramatic narratives that fuels the ensuing endorphin overload. In the study, researchers analyzed two groups of test subjects: 1 that sat through a “neutral” documentary, and another that watched a “dramatised story of a homeless man with a troubled childhood.” Then they had both groups do a wall-sit, holding themselves up in a seated position as long as they could stand it.
And who came out the victors? The weepy SOB’s from the movie about the homeless guy.
“Those who had the greatest emotional response also had the greatest increase in pain threshold and the greater their sense of being bonded with their group,” said Professor Dunbar, who orchestrated the experiment.
That’s because the feels the movie dredged up also released a bunch of endorphins along with it, a chemical that has a dulling effect on physical pain.
As Elle Woods once said:
The sadder they got, the less they felt the burn in their buns. So “emotive fiction” actually makes us stronger–and watching sad stuff can make you happy.
Chemicals are weird.
I guess I should watch STEEL MAGNOLIAS before my next workout?
Luckily, you can get the ultimate painkilling prescription for free right here on Yuyu. Check out our library of awesome movies, available to stream on all your devices.