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BY-NC 4.0 license Open Access Published by Academic Studies Press June 15, 2021

An Infectious Curiosity: Morbid Curiosity and Media Preferences during a Pandemic

  • Coltan Scrivner


In this study conducted during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, I explored how trait morbid curiosity was related to interest in 1) factual information about Coronavirus that was specifically morbid; 2) general factual information about Coronavirus; 3) pandemic and virus genres of films and TV shows; and 4) genres of film and TV shows that center around threat more broadly. Participants (n = 125) who scored high in morbid curiosity reported increased interest, compared to usual, in pandemic/virus genres as well as horror and thriller genres. Morbidly curious participants were also more interested specifically in morbid information about Coronavirus. Furthermore, disgust sensitivity was unrelated to these preferences. These results provide initial evidence that trait morbid curiosity can predict particular media preferences in the face of a real threat, and that morbid curiosity may reflect an adaptive predisposition in some individuals toward learning about the dan­gerous and disgusting aspects of a threat.

Published Online: 2021-06-15
Published in Print: 2021-06-01

© 2018 Academic Studies Press

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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