People are fascinated with true crime. It is why so many are addicted to crime podcasts or investing hours in series like Unsolved Mysteries.
Research shows that women are more attracted to real crime than men. One possible reason is that although men are more likely to be victims of violent crime, women may feel more vulnerable to attack, therefore more ready to gain insight on how to survive a true crime scenario.
Experts say watching true crime is a way of comforting yourself that something terrible could never happen to you. "I would never be that naive to marry a man who's been living a double life as a serial killer."
But this is also how we get to blame the victim. We think the person did something to deserve that. Did she walk alone at night? Was she drinking? It's terrifying if the person did everything right and something still happened to them. Then we have to admit that it could happen to us.
Some real crime stories are more difficult to distance yourself from the victim. Maybe you hear about a college student who was abducted during a midday run, and as a runner yourself, you can think how easily it could have been you.
We have this feeling of cheating death because we're aware that we ultimately can't escape death.
The shock value attracts us to something we've never seen or heard before.
The negativity bias may affect us where the brain pays more attention to negative than positive information. You may also be drawn to true crime because you get a closer look at people who don't care about social norms.
Freud and Jung felt that people needed to have a means to redirect the natural drive of aggression.
Listening to a true crime story can give you more than fantasizing about a kickboxing class. Yet, you also want to distance yourself from the criminal. You want to reassure yourself that you are not like that.
Humans are fantastic problem solvers. Without problems to solve, we actually feel restless. True crime stories give our brain something to work on.
We want the real criminals to get caught if we think someone has been wrongfully accused. But we also consider what would happen if we were unjustly accused.