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Good Question: Why Do We Like Being Scared?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This time of year, we are subject to all sorts of scary stuff. Some people love having the daylights scared out of them while others avoid it all costs.

Hannah Borreson is one of those that could do without.

“When I watch scary movies, I’m like, ‘Don’t do that! That’s not smart! Don’t go upstairs!” she said.

But Craig Harris loves the feeling he gets when he watches scary movies.

“Before you know it, you’re all clenched, you have to take a breath,” he said. “It’s kind of like a rollercoaster in the same way.

Dr. John Tauer says we have different sensitivities to being scared for a number of reasons.

“Some of it is the way we’re wired,” he says. “Some people are genetically predisposed, even as young kids, to be more likely to seek things out that will give them that rush.”

And some of it, he says, has to do with how we are raised.

“We may learn as young kids, if you grow up in a family where roller coasters are something you do for fun, you’re more likely, but not certainly determined, but more likely to end up liking that as well,” Tauer said.

When we get scared, our nervous system kicks – through an increased heartbeat, sweating or breathing hard — to tell us we’re not safe. Tauer says some people are less sensitive to those feelings and understand very quickly they are just fine, while others don’t.

“A lot of it is how we interpret that rush that our body is feeling because it’s similar in those two people even though the experience is different,” he says.

(credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images for Robert and Cortney Novogratz)

(credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images for Robert and Cortney Novogratz)

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