Can we learn about death by watching movies about it?



Psychological research shows that the fear of death is the greatest fear people have, Das says. The fact is: we are all going to die. The only strategy we have at our disposal is to push away the subconscious and not think about it anymore, the professor explains. “On the one hand, that is very effective, because if you were to think about death all day long, you wouldn’t get around to living anymore. But it also has a disadvantage, because if you never think about it, it stays in your mind. your subconscious is a very scary, terrifying thing.”

Although people prefer not to deal with this theme in everyday life, they do voluntarily watch films about death. And maybe people will secretly learn something from that, Das thought. “We find it scary and prefer to look away, but the moment you look you may also notice that the fear you have in front of you may change and there may sometimes be beautiful aspects to death.”


For the study, she asked half of the respondents to think about their own passing, the other half did not. Das then had them watch film fragments whose endings had been manipulated. For example, respondents saw scenes in which death was dealt with in different ways.

Her research shows that not everyone automatically learns something from watching films about death, but it is possible. “If it is urgent, for example because you have a loved one who is dying or you are struggling with life yourself, films can really help you. They can help you open up other perspectives that you had not yet imagined. Because you are often stuck in your own way of thinking.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: learn death watching movies


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