A new study has claimed that tense scenes like horror movies present prime conditions for peak brain activity.
According to a study by researchers from The City College of New York and Columbia University, you will probably remember the scene where the lights go out on Jodie Foster and the unseen Buffalo Bill reaches out to her in 'Silence of the Lambs' because at that moment, your brain was probably at its peak of engagement.
They usually contain at least two of the three components identified by the researchers as most engaging: powerful visual cues, ominous music, and meaningful scene changes.
"Peak correlations of neural activity across viewings can occur in remarkable correspondence with arousing moments of the film," Discovery News quoted them as writing.
"Moreover, a significant reduction in neural correlation occurs upon a second viewing of the film or when the narrative is disrupted by presenting its scenes scrambled in time," they wrote.
Tense scenes present prime conditions for peak brain activity. They usually contain at least two of the three components identified by the researchers as most engaging: powerful visual cues, ominous music, and meaningful scene changes.
To make the correlation, the researchers hooked 20 subjects up to EEG devices (electroencephalography measures electrical activity across the scalp) as they showed scenes from three films: Alfred Hitchcock's 'Bang! You're Dead', Sergio Leone's 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', and an amateur film of people walking on a college campus as a control.
They found especially high neural correlation during a close-up on the gun in 'Bang! You're Dead'. They found less neural correlation during the second viewings and during viewings with out-of-sequence scenes.