The Reading / Listening - Level 5

Watching sad movies can be just what the doctor ordered. A new study shows that watching distressing movies may boost our tolerance to pain. Researchers at Oxford University say that emotional movies can increase the amount of endorphins released by the brain. These are our body's natural painkillers - chemicals that relieve physical or psychological pain. Dr Robin Dunbar explained that: "The emotional [distress] you get from tragedy triggers the endorphin system….The same areas in the brain that deal with physical pain also handle psychological pain."



Dr Dunbar and his colleagues conducted tests to find out the effect tragic stories have on us. One group of people in their experiment watched a traumatic drama about a disabled man battling homelessness, drugs and alcohol. Another group watched a film on Britain's geology and archaeology. On average, the pain tolerance of those who watched the drama increased by 13.1 per cent, while the pain threshold for those who watched the documentary decreased by 4.6 per cent. Dr Dunbar suggested one reason we like to watch sad movies is the natural high from the endorphins.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Level 4 or  Level 6

Sources
  • https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/21/watching-a-sad-films-boosts-endorphin-levels-in-your-brain-psychologists-say
  • http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/09/sad-movies-help-us-bond-those-around-us-and-alleviate-pain
  • http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37418551


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. boost our tolerance
  2. increase the amount of endorphins
  3. our body's natural
  4. chemicals that relieve physical or
  5. emotional
  6. tragedy triggers the endorphin
  7. The same areas in
  8. deal with physical
  1. psychological pain
  2. the brain
  3. to pain
  4. pain
  5. painkillers
  6. released by the brain
  7. system
  8. distress

Paragraph 2

  1. Dunbar and his colleagues conducted
  2. the effect tragic stories
  3. battling homelessness, drugs
  4. a film on Britain's geology and
  5. pain
  6. those who watched
  7. one reason we like
  8. the natural
  1. to watch sad movies
  2. tolerance
  3. high
  4. and alcohol
  5. tests to find out
  6. archaeology
  7. have on us
  8. the documentary

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Watching sad movies (1) ___________________ the doctor ordered. A new study shows that watching distressing movies (2) ___________________ tolerance to pain. Researchers at Oxford University say that emotional movies can increase (3) ___________________ endorphins released by the brain. These are (4) ___________________ painkillers - chemicals that relieve physical or psychological pain. Dr Robin Dunbar explained that: "The (5) ___________________ you get from tragedy triggers the endorphin system….The same areas in the brain (6) ___________________ physical pain also handle psychological pain."

Dr Dunbar (7) ___________________ conducted tests to find out the effect tragic stories (8) ___________________. One group of people in their experiment watched a traumatic drama (9) ___________________ man battling homelessness, drugs and alcohol. Another group watched a film on Britain's geology and archaeology. On average, the (10) ___________________ of those who watched the drama increased by 13.1 per cent, while the pain threshold (11) ___________________ watched the documentary decreased by 4.6 per cent. Dr Dunbar suggested one reason we like to watch sad movies is (12) ___________________ from the endorphins.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Watchingsadmoviescanbejustwhatthedoctorordered.Anewstudysh
owsthatwatchingdistressingmoviesmayboostourtolerancetopain.R
esearchersatOxfordUniversitysaythatemotionalmoviescanincreaset
heamountofendorphinsreleasedbythebrain.Theseareourbody'snatu
ralpainkillers-chemicalsthatrelievephysicalorpsychologicalpai
n.DrRobinDunbarexplainedthat:"Theemotional[distress]yougetfro
mtragedytriggerstheendorphinsystem….Thesameareasinthebraint
hatdealwithphysicalpainalsohandlepsychologicalpain."DrDunbaran
dhiscolleaguesconductedteststofindouttheeffecttragicstorieshaveo
nus.Onegroupofpeopleintheirexperimentwatchedatraumaticdrama
aboutadisabledmanbattlinghomelessness,drugsandalcohol.Anothe
rgroupwatchedafilmonBritain'sgeologyandarchaeology.Onaverage,
thepaintoleranceofthosewhowatchedthedramaincreasedby13.1per
cent,whilethepainthresholdforthosewhowatchedthedocumentaryde
creasedby4.6percent.DrDunbarsuggestedonereasonweliketowatch
sadmoviesisthenaturalhighfromtheendorphins.

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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