It feels good to control what will terrify you
Where I discuss all things morbid curiosity
I’m currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Comparative Human Development at The University of Chicago and a Fellow at the Institute for Mind and Biology in the Behavioral Biology Lab.
What is it about monsters, murderers, and the macabre that draws us in and inspires curiosity? More importantly, how does this morbid curiosity affect us in our daily life? These are the core questions that motivate much of my research, whether that research involves tracking participants’ eye movements as they inspect a cabinet of morbid items or measuring their heart rate as they fight their way through a haunted house. Much of my current research looks at how and why people sometimes find enjoyment - and can perhaps learn something - from fictionally dangerous scenarios. From this perspective, I’ve been pioneering the psychological study of morbid curiosity. More broadly, however, I am interested in the functions of emotions and the social, cognitive, and biological factors that influence social behavior.
My research on morbid curiosity and the psychology of horror has been covered by a variety of news and media outlets, including New Scientist, National Geographic, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The New York Times, Forbes, Nautilus, Vice, and Psycom.
I occasionally write about the psychology of morbid curiosity, horror, and all things spooky at Morbid Minds, my Psychology Today Blog.
I’m also writing a tradebook on morbid curiosity that will be published by Penguin Random House in 2023. Stay tuned for updates!
PhD in Comparative Human Development - Behavioral Biology, 2022 (expected)
The University of Chicago
MS in Forensic Science - Biology/Chemistry with honors, 2016
The University of Central Oklahoma
BA in Anthropology with honors, 2014