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Study Shows Post-Apocalyptic Movie Fans Are Better Prepared for Coronavirus Pandemic. Duh.

Actual research money has gone into an actual university study that just proves something we’ve already known for years: people who enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction can better cope and are better prepared for catastrophic situations.

“If you’ve watched a lot of what we call prepper movies, you will have vicariously lived through massive social upheavals, states of martial law, people responding in both pro-social and dangerously selfish ways to a sudden catastrophic event,” psychologist Mathias Clasen told the Guardian. Clasen is the author of the study at Aarhus University in Denmark.

“Compared to somebody who has never simulated the end of the world, you’ll be in a better place because you have that vicarious experience.”

But more interestingly, Clasen goes on to say that this cognition is also due to simple evolution. “Our ability to imaginatively inhabit virtual worlds – worlds of our own making, as well as those conveyed by movies and books – is a gift from natural selection,” he reveals.

“If it’s a good movie, it pulls you in and you take the perspective of the characters, so you are unintentionally rehearsing the scenarios,” University of Chicago psychologist Coltan Scrivner added. “We think people are learning vicariously. It’s like, with the exception of the toilet paper shortage, they pretty much knew what to buy.”

And it seems to also work in the reverse direction. As so many people are following stay-at-home orders during this pandemic, movies like 2011’s Contagion, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, went from the 270th most-watched Warner Bros film to the studio’s second most-watched, according to the Daily Mail. The movie has gained so much interest in the last three months that a screenshot from the film recently went viral, mistaking it as a real photo of a COVID-19 victim mass burial.

Scene from Contagion

So what types of movies are you watching to prepare for the ongoing pandemic? What movies or TV shows are your old favorites that have gotten you this far already?

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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