Throughout the 1970 s and 1980 s, report headlines were splashed with serial assassination occurrences such as the Green River Killer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy Jr, Richard “Night Stalker”Ramirez, the Zodiac Killer, and BTK. The FBI tonesthatthis sparked a massive “renewed public interest” in serial killersa similar curiosity of whichhad previouslysprung up in the 19 th century following the notorious carnages of Jack the Ripper in Victorian London.
Now, its the post- Making A Murderer Internet age, when it has never been easier to indulge in your morbid interest. With this, too, comes a whole new bag of serial killer-infused Netflix films, Tv serial, podcasts, Reddit threads, movies, and even the odd IFLScience article.
As much as we might be repulsed by the actions of serial executioners in theory, it seems we cant get enough of them. So what is it about these attributes that capture the human rights imagery so strongly?
For many, its no different to the buzz you get from watching fright movies. Each stab, shriek, or stalkery appear comes with a rush of neurotransmitters and a physiological change in the body, such as an increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and increased blood glucose levelsthe same reaction we get with excite. It likewise dispenses a dosage of a dopamine into your brain, the neurotransmitter famously associated with pleasure, mainly food and sex, but alsoduringtimes of anxiety.
We get this shooting of feel-good chemicals because it’s oftenhelpful for our survival. If we are simply spectating security threats from a cool interval, however, then the neurotransmitters are there but in a very different context. It’s effectively a safe homefor us torelish in a orgy of dopamine and adrenaline.
I would give that we learn about serial assassins through the mediadocumentaries, volumes, online generators, and films and that these are safe ways to explore such a morbid topic, Bridget Rubenking, assistant professor at the University of Central Florida and media psychology scholar, told IFLScience.Exploring all the negative things ranging from dreadful or frightful, to quite depressing and melancholy is common and quite easy to do through media, where the risks are substantially less than exploring these subjects in non-mediated environments.
Rubekings 2014 study looked into how we react to films and Tv shows thattickle our appreciation of abhorrence and revulsion. Her teammeasured the physiological changes of participants asthey watchedvideos that portrayedthree all kinds of abhorrence: extinction, gore, and socio-moral indignation, like cheating and sellout. When it came to death and gore, the initial reaction was negative, butit also provoked thestrongest physiological indication of arousal and attention.
Its easy expressed the belief that human action is simply guided by a desire to pursue amusement, escape pain, and survive. Yet paradoxically, were attracted by the repulsive. Its the same reason why you rubberneck at vehicle gate-crashes, search for graphic videos on LiveLeak, or enjoy watching a celebrity meltdown on Twitter.
So far, though, this could all apply to any old gruesome material. Why serial assassins in particular?
For starters, there is something appealing and emphatically free-spoken about being unconstrained by conventional righteousnes. Serial assassins are specially good at this. They rarely commit their murdersvia conventionalreasoning like retaliation, resentment, or panic. Instead, the FBI saythatregardless of the motivating, serial assassins perpetrate their violations because they want to.
As fascinating as it might be to be “moraless”, its surely something we want to avoid.
If you strip down all swine, our motivational structures are comprised of two systems, Rubenking added. First, an appetitive, or approaching structure, which leads us to seek out opportunities that facilitated self and species survival. Namely, meat and sexuality. The other nested structure in the motivational structure is the aversive or defensive system. It is what ramps up when were faced with threats and guidebooks protective actions.
From this perspective, hearing what is disgusting is functional. Disgust is often conceptualized as generated in our oral rejection system: Basically, a ‘dont eat that, its gross, youll die’ answer. It has, over time, been co-opted to tell us likewise what not to have sex with, and later on, what people and practises to avoid.
However, this macabre interest in the topic far transcends its scope of application. Realistically, the the opportunities of get nabbed by a serial executioner are extremely, very slim.The curiosity might not be straightforward in its practicality, like discovering to avoid foul-smelling meat, but it’s a testament to our capabilities as super-brained mammals to toy around with abstract abstractions like good, evil, and death.
It is felt that being fascinated with extinction, and the most theatrical purveyors of death, is something that builds us human.