It seems like nowadays a copious amount of crime shows, documentaries, books, podcasts, and whatnot have been relentlessly fighting for our attention. While it’s been around for decades, the demand for these kinds of stories in today’s society has reached an all-time high. But, why?
The Experts Weigh In
According to experts, there are possible factors to justify people’s obsession with true crime stories:
First of all, we are drawn to people that exhibit particular traits that are peculiar or polarly opposite from our own, especially when it involves deciphering the human psyche. We were taught the notion of good vs evil at a young age, so our fascination with discovering the different facets of how a person could commit such evil or malevolent acts intrigues us and allows us to understand the factors that triggered the person to behave in such a manner.
True crime stories take us on a roller coaster of emotions that could get very addictive because the element of surprise or the unpredictability of human behavior simply excites us.
Secondly, it helps us become prepared by equipping us with the necessary tools to prevent or survive an attack. Women are more prone to develop an interest in crime stories in hopes of learning insider tips about how to defend themselves if, in any case, they encounter such unfortunate circumstances. By knowing the patterns, motivations, and ways attackers carry out heinous crimes, people could prevent themselves from becoming a victim.
Lastly, we are simply in it for the thrill or the adrenaline rush. True crime stories take us on a roller coaster of emotions that could get very addictive because the element of surprise or the unpredictability of human behavior simply excites us. Not to mention, we like the feeling of satisfaction especially when we are able to successfully examine the shreds of evidence and eventually put all of the pieces together on our own. In perspective, solving mysteries heighten our senses as well as challenge and keep our brains going.
The trial of O.J. Simpson is a classic example of a true crime story that people religiously followed back in 1995, and interestingly enough remains relevant and appreciated by different generations up to this day. Furthermore, a podcast called Serial became the talk of the town in 2014 and was instantly a catalyst that inspired many other critically-acclaimed true crime shows we enjoy today. In fact, Netflix has been investing millions in producing and distributing true crime stories, which is evident in the quality of shows they have released over the past decade or so, starting with The Staircase (2004), Making a Murderer (2015), Mindhunter (2017), The Keepers (2017), Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019), Abducted in Plain Sight (2019), You (2019), and The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2019).
So, why do we constantly find ourselves losing sleep over binge-watching cold-blooded serial killers? The answer is simple: our fascination with these kinds of stories stimulates our curiosity. Our brain is wired to satiate its quest for answers, especially when it comes to exploring circumstances that are otherworldly and beyond our capacity. We get a deeper understanding of how the justice system works, how it could protect us from these circumstances, or how it could even fail us. We are willing to put the time and effort to follow these stories for years because we know that real lives are at stake and we sympathize with the victims, hoping that we all get the closure that we deserve.