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Power of Obsessive Curiosity and the Conspiracy Theories


When you were younger, did you ever experience a strong want to gaze at something that was horrifying, nasty, or macabre? You may have experienced a terrifying movie, read a book about a genuine crime, or been a bystander at an accident site. If that is the case, you are not the only one. Millions of others have the same feelings as you do.

Morbid Curiosity: Why We Can’t Look Away

The urge to learn about events that are dangerous, violent, or unsettling is the driving force behind morbid curiosity, which can be defined as the attraction to things that are harmful or taboo. The following are examples of common topics that can serve as triggers: death, disease, criminal activity, the paranormal, or body infractions.

The trait of morbid curiosity is not a recent development. Since the beginning of time, people have been observing and talking about it. As an illustration, Plato related the story of Leontius, who experienced a struggle between his hatred and attraction to a heap of dead bodies. Eventually, Leontius gave in to his curiosity and glanced at the bodies, uttering the words, “There!” for the first time. You wretches, you! Be sure to take in the breathtaking view of the event!

Why Do We Have Morbid Curiosity?

Despite the fact that morbid curiosity may appear to be unreasonable or counterintuitive, it actually serves several adaptive roles. It is possible that our ancestors were able to survive in a dangerous world because of their morbid curiosity, which provided them with vital information about prospective hazards. This is according to the theory of evolutionary psychology.

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We are able to better prevent or deal with situations that are similar in the future if we gain knowledge about the factors that cause harm and the repercussions of that harm. It is possible, for instance, that by observing a car accident, we will become more conscious of the dangers associated with driving and may modify our behavior accordingly.

Morbid curiosity may also have some positive effects on one’s emotional state. It is possible that we will feel a sense of relief, excitement, or catharsis if we subject ourselves to regulated doses of dread and disgust. Furthermore, by engaging with our own death and frailty, we have the potential to develop a more profound appreciation for life and a more robust sense of meaning.

The Conspiracy Theory Angle

According to the definition provided by the authors of a recent study that investigated the connection between morbid curiosity and conspiracy theories in samples based in the United States, conspiracy theories are “allegations of secret plots between two or more powerful actors.

” These plots are aimed to achieve a particular result, which may include providing an explanation of significant events or presenting alternate interpretations of reality in contrast to the conventional explanations. Additionally, they frequently emphasize the danger that is posed by the scheme and the individuals who are conspiring to carry it out.

A higher level of trait morbid curiosity was shown to be connected with higher levels of general conspiracist attitudes (found in Study 1) and the perceived threat of conspiratorial interpretations of events (found in Study 2), according to the study’s findings. According to the findings of Study 3, the authors discovered that individuals who opted to study morbidly inquisitive stimuli were more likely to choose to learn about conspiracy theories for occurrences.

This was discovered through the use of a behavioral choice paradigm. The best predictor of conspiratorial ideation and interest was repeatedly found to be a greater curiosity about the thoughts of hazardous people.

Increasing anxiety is a predictor of the belief in conspiracy theories, according to the authors, who argue that the belief in conspiracy theories is motivated by a desire to understand risks. Morbid curiosity is a type of curiosity that refers to the urge to seek out information about potentially harmful or threatening events. It is also associated with an interest in entertainment that is related to threats and an increase in anxiety.

Who Is More Likely to Be Morbidly Curious?

When it comes to morbid curiosity, not everyone is on the same page. There are certain individuals who are more drawn to themes that are dark and unsettling than others. Several characteristics of personality have been found to be connected with a higher level of morbid curiosity, according to research. These include the following:

Individuals who have a high score on the trait of rebellious nonconformity have a tendency to disrespect societal conventions and look for novelty and unpredictability in their lives. It’s possible that they have a greater interest in subjects that are considered provocative or taboo.
Having a low animal reminder disgust score indicates that thoughts about mortality and the animal origins of people are not as repugnant as they could otherwise be. Because of this, it is possible that individuals have less fear of subjects that entail biological fluids or decomposition.

People who score high on this feature have a strong curiosity about human behavior, and they are captivated by the reasons and acts of other individuals. It’s possible that they have a greater interest in subjects that entail violent acts, criminal behavior, or aberrant psychology.
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When it is displayed in moderation, morbid curiosity has the potential to have a good impact on human cognition and emotions respectively. Nevertheless, it is also possible for it to have adverse effects if it is used in an unhealthy or excessive manner. Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between our morbid curiosity and other types of curiosity that contribute to the enhancement of our life and the expansion of our horizons.