If you're the kind of person who covers your eyes at the scariest parts of movies, science wants you to stop. Apparently, you're really only making it worse for yourself.
Neuroscientists have discovered that the amygdala - the part of the brain that senses fear and emotion - kicks into gear when people listen to scary music with their eyes shut. To prove this theory, volunteers in a study held at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel were monitored while listening to pieces of music both with and without the benefit of visual stimulus. While more neutral music produced the same responses from those with eyes opened and closed, more unsettling music produced more neurotransmitter noradrenalin in subjects with closed eyes than open, as if responding to a threat. Talma Hendler, who ran the study, isn't surprised by the results:
A lot of time we do like to close our eyes when we listen to music, we feel like this is a more powerful experience... I suspect if we had music that was positive, we would get a similar effect.
Now all we need to do is fund a similar study on what happens to those who listen to Stan Bush's "The Touch."
Scary music is spookier with eyes shut [New Scientist]