Aarhus University Seal

Meet the Interns: Pernille Lærke Munk-Hansen

The Recreational Fear Lab is delighted to host several research interns in the fall of 2022. In this post, lab intern Pernille Lærke Munk-Hansen tells us about herself and her interest in the lab.

Hi there! I’m Pernille and I’m currently doing an MA in English at Aarhus University. For my MA thesis next spring, I am beginning to investigate the psychology behind humans telling each other stories - particularly scary ones - in order to learn more about the world around us. Throughout my time at AU, both at the English department and with my BA minor in Psychology, this has always been what my attention naturally revolves around: Good stories and why we act the way we do.


I’m possibly the most scared person at the Recreational Fear Lab, and my way into the lab was not necessarily the horror element, but rather the research. I’ve participated in two rounds of data collection at Dystopia Haunted House as a research assistent, and through those many cold nights in Vejle, asking people to fill out questionnaires with blood-curdling screams and loud bangs in the background, I beame really intrigued by why people find horror so fun and exhilarating. It is no secret that after seeing the original Nightmare on Elm Street in a high school media class and not being able to sleep easily for three weeks, I am pretty cautious when it comes to horror.


However, the more I read and learn about the evolutionary psychology approach to horror, I am increasingly curious about all things scary and what benefits might be associated with seeking out fear voluntarily and in safe contexts. Having the opportunity to work with the perfect crossover between my two main fields of interest, telling immersive stories and figuring out how people's minds work, and then adding the spice of fear into the mix – see, now, that’s a sum that becomes greater than its parts. 


I am thrilled to be part of the lab this semester and cannot wait to see what creepy and cool things we will be working on!