What would aliens think if they leaned we evolved fear as a survival mechanism, but we intentionally seek out situations that trigger our fear response, for fun?

Horror movies, extreme sports, thrill-seeking, it’s all weird.

Edit
Changed the title and added an extra line to make it clear I’m talking about the fear response, and not specifically about extreme sports

  • SuddenDownpour@sh.itjust.works
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    1 month ago

    Do you know what’s worse than stimulating your fear response? Stimulating your anger response. And millions of people choose do that daily in their interactions with social media.

  • MHanak@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    My guess would be that after we get scared the brain goes “good job, you survived, here’s some endorphins”. That way we enjoy getting scared because happiness follows

    Source: none.

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      30 days ago

      I imagine that’d be just as fucked up to aliens:

      Their brain injects feelgood drugs to reward them for being scared??? and they got addicted?!?!

  • foggy@lemmy.world
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    1 month ago

    They would think that we create sport out of pushing our physical limits so as to advance our physical limits at an optimal pace.

    “The human performed two whole rotations! And while doing so, they removed their vehicle, spun it around their body, and placed it back beneath their feet before landing! However, clearly the humans valued the human who performed two and a half rotations a lot more. They call home ‘Tony Hawk’”.

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      1 month ago

      Extreme sports was more supposed to be an example. Horror movies are the same.

      People go out of their way to feel scared, what would aliens think of that?

      • foggy@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        That we distill what makes us uncomfortable and make a mockery of it. As a communal past time.

        • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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          30 days ago

          That’s still a pretty messed up pass time if you’re not anthropomorphizing. It’s a crazy way to have evolved.

          • foggy@lemmy.world
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            30 days ago

            There’s a reason we’re at the top of the food chain.

            I saw someone do a creative writing exercise where they wrote as a wise wild animal explaining why you don’t fuck with humans. We’re terrifying.

            If a shark tries to taste just one of us, millions of us will attack their whole species.

            We domesticated fucking wolves. Wolves realized it was better to bow down and beg for treats than to consider competing.

  • CoffeeJunkie@lemmy.world
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    29 days ago

    This is actually really funny because I think Michael Knowles talked about this exact same thing either 2 or 3 days ago. The conclusion was: we have these instincts. Some people just really like exercising them, and others, they’re exercising fear/horror/disgust in a safe, controlled environment because that helps to prepare them for the fears, horrors, disgust they’ll face in real life.

    Not that they’re thinking that consciously. But subconsciously.

  • bstix@feddit.dk
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    1 month ago

    I think any aliens advanced enough to visit Earth would probably understand it.

    Whether it’s horror movies or extreme sports, it is some kind of play, which is about creating a safe or controlled environment to explore things that either isn’t really happening (horror movies) or things that haven’t been tried before (extreme sports).

    A lot of extreme sports are actually relatively safe because it’s done by individuals in highly controlled environments. Statistically it’s a lot more dangerous to participate in other sports or everyday activities where there’s a larger risk from other participants or things that are unpredictable. Things like horse riding, traffic and trampolines are more dangerous because they’re more unpredictable. The consequences might be worse if it fails thoughm, making it “extreme”.

    Travelling through space to explore inhabited planets absolutely requires the same kind of desire and process of safely testing out things that are potentially dangerous.

    • dustyData@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      The thought of commuter traffic as an extreme sport depresses me. But then, the number of people who die from cardiac arrest while sitting in a traffic jam is not zero.

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      30 days ago

      I like that “safe space” theory, that seems very plausible.

      It’s still a bit messed up though, because that part of our brain can’t distinguish between play fear and real fear, so we get “rewarded” for both which seems like a very risky move, evolutionary.

      I can imagine the aliens being like

      How did they survive to become the apex species?

      Although with all the brinkmanship and poor threat analysis we’ve exhibiting now on a global scale, perhaps we won’t survive as the apex species for long, so 🤷

  • Nougat@fedia.io
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    1 month ago

    When the brain is evolved to recognize immediate and present dangers and react to them, an absence of those dangers (which is true for most of us, most of the time) means that “something is wrong.”

    Injecting pseudo-dangers, or purposefully placing oneself in actual danger, closes the “danger gap.”

  • God_Is_Love@reddthat.com
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    1 month ago

    I thought I was the only person who felt that way! It makes me so angry when people with spouses and kids or even parents who love them do hyper dangerous sports. Like surely there has to be something more worth doing that doesn’t orphan your children??

    (Obviously any sport has some risk as do things like driving, I’m referring to things like free diving or free climbing where there’s no way to have a real safety net)

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      1 month ago

      Im gonna edit my post because everyone is too hung up on extreme sports.
      Horror movies also fall under the same category of thing. It’s not about the risk, it’s about triggering fear response. I just picked extreme sports because I couldn’t fit the whole premise in the title

      • God_Is_Love@reddthat.com
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        26 days ago

        Ohhh yeah sorry, I might have misinterpreted the point of your post! Obviously no one dies from watching a horror movie so my comment doesn’t apply 🤪

  • thenextguy@lemmy.world
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    30 days ago

    I wonder what percentage of us don’t.

    I’ve never liked horror movies or roller coasters or anything like that.

    • Yeah, me neither. I’ve liked some horror genre stories, like Clive Barker’s Book(s?) of Blood, Rawhead Rex and all; but I wouldn’t say it was because it made me afraid.

      If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say a lot of people do, or else slasher flicks wouldn’t be so popular. Hell, some years it seems as if that’s the only genre of movies released.

      But, I also loath the cringe inducing reality shows many people love; and I’m so very tired of every show having to be nonstop angst and tension: GoT was the pinnacle of this, and I absolutely hated it. Books and TV. Boardwalk Empire was so frustrating, because it so well written, acted, and produced, but I just can’t stand the unrelieved tension. Obviously, a took of people do, or else there’d be more diversity in media. It’s like, the one tool media writers know how to use, anymore.

      I say all this because I wonder if there’s a correlation: what’s the overlap between people who don’t like being jump-scared or otherwise frightened and the people who don’t like watching people being made uncomfortable (a-la Borat); or constantly bickering (The Kardashians). I love action movies, and a good adventure sci-fi or fantasy, so I’m not adverse to conflict, but I won’t watch Breaking Bad because - while I’m aware it was an excellent series - I also know it’s going to be a non-stop angst-fest, like The Sopranos.

      It’d be an interesting survey. Maybe a list of shows and movies with a simple “enjoy/don’t enjoy”, and secretly ranked by dominant emotional manipulation. Is it an endearing love story tinged with bittersweet? A slasher? A torture-tension (what’s Saw? Not a slasher). See how people are grouped.

    • Aquila@sh.itjust.works
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      30 days ago

      Adrenaline plus fear not a fan but fear and wonder I enjoy interestingly

      Horror no go Psychological horror tho I’ll watch

  • stelelor
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    30 days ago

    I think that fear is just one of the many responses humans like to stimulate. Spicy foods and deep massages? Fancy pain. Fireworks and laser shows? Fancy lights and colors. I wonder if it ties into the ability to remember that we survived the painful stimulus long enough to enjoy the aftermath, so we’re more likely to seek out that stimulus in the future? High risk = high reward kind of thing.

    Also brings this to mind: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernormal_stimulus

  • TimewornTraveler@lemm.ee
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    29 days ago

    i dont get it either. i hate the horror genre. i wish i could understand but i guess thats what makes humans interesting, how differently we can see things

  • theneverfox@pawb.social
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    29 days ago

    I don’t think it’s weird - we’re animals, mammals and hunters no less, and animals play. If we have unstimulated instincts and free time, we find ways to exercise them

    It’s kind of like the zoomies or play fighting, it’s just built into our design, for one reason or another

    Now, aliens might come here and be fascinated how Earth vertebrates can even function, assuming this isn’t a common thing. But I’m guessing our social behaviors will be more mind boggling

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      29 days ago

      But specifically fear instincts seems strange. It makes sense to us because we’re us, but look at it more clinically: we seek out to stimulate the instinct that keeps us safe. That means that it’d doing the exact opposite of its purpose. If we seek to stimulate our fear, that means we seek to put ourselves in situations where fear is a reasonable response, which is exactly what fear was evolved to prevent.
      How did this behavior develop, and how did we survive once it did?

      • theneverfox@pawb.social
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        29 days ago

        I think you’re looking at it the wrong way - triggering the flight or fight response won’t make you able to fight or flight by itself. You have to practice the responses or they’re useless - detrimental even, like a deer in the headlights

        Play is a way to exercise those instincts and practice responses, but in a safe way. We even creep into the danger zone a bit sometimes, but most people (and animals) keep the danger measured

        Fear isn’t pain - it’s not meant to be an absolute deterrent. It makes us think twice and go into fight or flight mode to handle a challenge - it doesn’t discourage behaviors, it moderates them. Sometimes you do have to face off a rival, or need to take a risk for a reward. It releases endorphins if we come out of it better off

        So it’s not weird that we are drawn to it - horror stories/movies/games trigger it artificially, but so does fighting each other or tests of courage

        • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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          29 days ago

          But in those cases, isn’t fear supposed to be balanced by some reward? Competing instincts/motivations?

      • negativeyoda@lemmy.world
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        28 days ago

        Before we figured out tools and became apex predators we were prey animals… we’re SUPPOSED to be nervous and scared because that’s what kept us alive. Some people have speculated that this is why in aggregate humans are prone to being spiteful, destructive, bored, and shitty

  • 0ops@lemm.ee
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    1 month ago

    I mean, yeah fear is a big part of extreme sports, but it isn’t the attraction. You never heard Tony hawk say “hey, watch how scared I get when I attempt this trick”. That’s not the point. It’s about the satisfaction of improving motor skills and the ability to move in new and interesting ways. But mostly it’s just fun. Really it’s not so different from skill-based video games, it’s just that in real life you have to work your way up to the more advanced stuff to do it safely.

    • PeriodicallyPedanticOP
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      1 month ago

      Maybe I’ll edit my post because you’re not the first person who misunderstood. I’m specifically talking about thrill seeking, not extreme sports specifically. I couldn’t fit the whole premise in the title so I just picked an example 😭