"To really enjoy a scary situation, we have to know we're in a safe environment," Dr. Margee Kerr told The Atlantic. "It's all about triggering the amazing fight-or-flight response to experience the flood of adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine, but in a completely safe space."
Dr. Kerr is a recognized expert in fear and works as a staff sociologist for a haunted house in Pittsburgh. She notes how people often jump into the air or scream at a spooky shock and immediately burst out laughing. Because we know the threat or danger we reacted to isn't real, we're free to indulge in the rush of a good fright—and then move on.