Expert Insights: The Fascinating Science of True Crime Obsession
True crime is one of the most captivating genres of movies, podcasts, novels, etc. So the question remains, “Why are people so drawn to stories of murder, mayhem and mystery?”
What is it about true crime that keeps us coming back for more? To answer this question, we spoke with Coltan Scrivner, a research scientist for Recreational Fear Lab, who has extensively studied the phenomenon of true crime.
He deduced from his research that there has to be a first reason why people are endlessly fascinated by true crime content.
If you're feeling guilty about your true crime obsession, take comfort in knowing that Henry James was wild about the stories collected in William Roughead's Classic Crimes—finding them an especially useful distraction while suffering from gout. pic.twitter.com/f7GrIed9xZ
— NYRB Classics (@nyrbclassics) February 7, 2023
Coltan Scrivner’s Take On True Crime Obsession
Scrivner explains that the intense curiosity about mystery and dangerous people dates back over 300,000 years. This curiosity could have started when humans began interacting in common languages.
Humans begin to engage in reactive aggression, Which is when they feel threatened. As time went by, it advanced to a more proactive aggressiveness.
Now we face the dilemma of knowing who seeks to harm you or who does. This dilemma further leads to humans seeking more information about people to understand better their intentions and how they interact with them.
Why are we fascinated with serial killers and evil men?
I gave a Science on Screen talk last week about our fascination with evil men, using Patrick Bateman from AMERICAN PSYCHO as an example. Here's a thread with the main points & some of my slides
— Coltan Scrivner (@MorbidPsych) April 26, 2022
Scrivner says, “True crime can have a learning component or a perceived learning complement. We feel like we are more prepared for these kinds of situations.
So if this dangerous situation occurs, you feel a little more prepared and know what you should or shouldn’t do.”
To further give credence to his deduction, a survey by OnePoll collected from 2,000 candidates show that 76% of these candidates attested that true crime content has helped them escape similar situations.
The survey also discovered that the average of the respondents watches or listens to at least five true crime content per month.
It also shows that 44% of candidates confessed to having “favorite serial killers,” and another 67% said they would like an opportunity to meet these serial killers in person.
Can too much true crime content make one likely to commit a crime?
There is still no credible evidence to prove that consuming too much true crime content will make one more likely to commit a violent crime.
Studies and surveys have been conducted to find a correlation between violent media and aggressive behavior. And by correlation, we do not mean a direct cause but any behavioral effect.
In most cases, it was found that True crime content could form a sense of distrust in consumers and, in some rare extreme cases, temporary paranoia. None of the studies directly link these contents with violent behaviors.
True crime content often provides a cautionary tale and highlights the repercussions of violent behavior, which naturally is a deterrent to violent behavior.
It can also expose the motivations and triggers of violent crime, which gives us a better understanding when interacting with people.
However, a person may be desensitized to violent behavior and see it as usual. Mainly when no other positive influences or supports exist.
Individuals already predisposed to violent behavior may seek out true crime content as a form of validation or reinforcement.
True Crime contents are intriguing, fun, and sometimes captivating. This love for True Crime content is common and can be related to humans’ innate curiosity.
You don’t have to worry about something psychologically wrong with you. We all have True Crime obsession. However, we advise you to consume these contents moderately.
For more interesting news and articles, check out Inquirer.net.