“Understanding the Psychological Impact of Crime Series: Insights from Experts”

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True crime, or crime series and programs based on real events, has become a favorite genre in the entertainment industry. According to Kantar’s TGI Global Quick View study, conducted in more than 35 markets worldwide, true crime has positioned itself as the second favorite genre after comedy. Captivating audiences with stories of real crimes and their investigation, true crime productions explore the darkest and most disturbing details of the human condition.

This genre has reached new heights of success and impact, consolidating itself through its ability to generate intrigue, suspense, and fascination for real crimes, according to Elena Neira, collaborating professor of Information Sciences and Communication Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. However, true crime shows’ potential impact on viewer’s mental health has led psychologists to warn of potential dangers.

Programming that takes morality to the limit by showcasing real criminal behavior, makes us question our social skills, and challenges our survival skills. This is all expressed through emotions as essential as fear, anger, and anxiety, viewed from the perspective of human weakness, according to Susana de la Torre Cano, a Health Psychologist and Violence Expert.

Mireia Cabero, from the University of Catalunya (UOC), notes that people are concerned about the unknown and threatening. People find a false sense of control and security exposing themselves to detailed information about everything terrifying and strange. The viewers’ hope is that the story will have an ending where good triumphs over evil, which we want to believe is the case, that need for reaffirmation hooks us,” adds Marc Balcells, professor at the Degree in Criminology from the Law and Political Science Studies of the UOC.

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While true crime productions might provide an escape for viewers, they carry the risk of desensitizing viewers to violent behavior, which can lead to exposure to dangerous situations. Habituation to violence can cause reality to be distorted, where the murderer is not perceived as bad, and any of us can commit murder. This false sense of security can lead to the development of irrational fears, obsessions, anxiety, and even disconnection with reality, warns the violence expert.

Excessive consumption of true crime audiovisuals can affect mental health. The psychologist Chivonna Childs advises moderate consumption of this type of content and suggests alternating it with kinder shows and generating positive emotions. Education on violence and emotional management helps viewers understand that occasional situations happen due to individual behavior, not by all humans.

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