1 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University2 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
Toward a Consilient Theory of Horror Fiction
Life in prehistoric times was dangerous. Our evolutionary ancestors faced a range of potentially threatening organisms: carnivorous predators, venomous animals, invisible pathogens, and hostile conspecifics. Thus, natural selection has produced a species-typical cognitive architecture for danger-management, and this architecture fundamentally constrains our horror stories and the monsters that engage our attention and make us keep the bedside lamp burning. I argue that an evolutionary perspective can greatly enhance our understanding of horror fiction. Horror scholars are mired in mono-causal, obsolete, and reductionist explanatory paradigms such as psychoanalysis and social constructivism. The time is right for a consilient theory of horror. Winner in the categories "Best overall poster" and "Best poster that involves primary research in at least two of the three areas"