Study shows true crime fans should monitor their doses of deadly discoveries

It’s in no way deniable that our generation loves true crime. Buzzfeed Unsolved, Criminal Minds, Law and Order and hundreds of other shows facilitate that obsession, but if you have any interest in psychology, you’ll probably want to know if it has an effect on your brain, so here’s the most recent findings on your brain on true crime.

According to a study from July this year from the Cleveland Clinic, the true crime genre is funded by curiosity. Yes, it is disproportionately appealing to AFAB people. This is most likely due to the high likelihood of AFAB people, especially feminine presenting AFAB people, becoming victims themselves. In other words, the obsession comes from a biological need to know the enemy to avoid becoming a victim, but for everyone else it’s about knowing why. To quote the article and Dr. Chivonna Childs, “Watching true crime doesn’t make you strange or weird. It’s human nature to be inquisitive. True crime appeals to us because we get a glimpse into the mind of a real person who has committed a heinous act.” 

She continued, “Most true crime lovers are fascinated by the likes of Jack the Ripper, H.H. Holmes and Ted Bundy out of a deep desire to better understand their unthinkable capacity for cruelty. We want to see how they tick.” 

But does it have any side effects? Well, Dr.Childs, the main psychologist in the study, said that watching true crime, whether it’s fiction or not, in high amounts can have some side effects. Now it should be noted that these are pretty uncommon but should still be looked out for if you tend to binge NCIS or some particularly gruesome podcasts. 

  1. Developing paranoia.
  2. Feeling unsafe even at home.
  3. Being wary, unsure or even afraid of others without cause. 

These are common side effects of CPTSD and can be developed by enduring repetitive trauma. Even if that trauma isn’t your own, it can still affect your mind as if it was actually happening to you. Our brains react to threats no matter if they are real or perceived, so watching true crime can have some negative effects.

True crime is fine in small doses, but a small dose is different for everyone. Some can handle entire seasons while others can’t stomach one YouTube video. It all depends on your reactions. 

So if you plan to keep enjoying your true crime, please watch your mental health and be aware if you start developing any symptoms concurrent with CPTSD. If you do, please talk to someone and cut down on the Hawaii 5-0. Maybe try some cat videos.

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