There's a biological reason why some people are obsessed with true crime shows
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These days, everyone's a true crime expert; we know everything there is to know about the world's most infamous psychopaths, whether it's Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer.
But why do we love spending so much of our time learning about grizzly murders and the people responsible for them? Well, according to one expert, there's a very simple reason:
Coltan Scrivner is a research scientist at Recreational Fear Lab, which studies the scientific and physical effects of recreational fear, such as through video games and movies.
And while many may think this is a new phenomenon, Coltan says we've been like this for hundreds of thousands of years, ever since humans started using language and engaging in proactive aggression instead of reactive aggression.
“Now this presents a problem for people because with proactive aggression it’s hard to tell who is plotting to harm you,” he said
"So this put a selection pressure on our minds to learn to seek out information about people who are potentially dangerous.
“True crime can have a learning component to it or at least a perceived learning component. We feel like we’re more prepared in these kinds of situations.
"So if this dangerous situation were to occur, you feel a little more prepared and know what you should or shouldn’t do.”
And Coltan's hypothesis is backed up by science.
Data collected by OnePoll from 2,000 self-confessed true crime fans found that a staggering 76 percent of people believe the gruesome content would help them if they were faced with similar situations.
Over 70 percent of those polled also said they were less trustworthy of other people due to the amount of true crime docs they've seen.
But the question remains: can watching so many hours of true crime docs make someone more likely to be a murderer themselves?
I mean, it's a question we've all asked ourselves.
“So there are distinctions between becoming desensitized to seeing graphic content on your television and being OK with graphic content happening around you," Coltan said.
"A great example of this would be the research on violent video games over the course of the last 20 years.
"It was a huge deal because people were concerned that as video games became more realistic and as the violence became more realistic that it would cause kids, in particular, to become more violent.
“But the research is pretty clear at this point that playing violent video games doesn’t make kids more violent, I would be fairly sure that the same is true of something like true crime, where watching true crime doesn’t make you less empathetic towards the victims or more empathetic towards the killer or anything like that.
"It might have some psychological effects but it’s very unlikely that it would have any effects along those lines.”
That's a load off my mind then.