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The psychology behind morbid reality: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the fascination with blood, gore, injury, and death on the internet

Fox, Rebecca (2013) The psychology behind morbid reality: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the fascination with blood, gore, injury, and death on the internet. Southampton Solent University.

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Abstract

The psychological effects of viewing fictional, morbid and often, violent material are long researched and often in a negative light; yet despite the abundance and growing popularity of factual morbid material, predominately on the internet may be having on their psyche. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was crucial to gain best insight into participants’ experience with blood, gore, injury, and death; and ultimately, the research question; “why do people view (Anderson, 2012), few studies have explored the effects of watching someone become injured or die. Using five male and three female adult participants from around the world, this study looked to address the motivations behind viewing factual morbid material on the internet and the effects it reality material involving injury and/or death?” Themes identified participants’ keen interests in the material, along with reporting both positive and negative psychological consequences. In comparison with previous literature based on both factual and fictional morbid material (e.g. Zuckerman & Litle, 1986), albeit largely based on short-term exposure, results were mixed and further research with these participants or from other similar internet domains would be necessary to further explore the effects of viewing factual morbid material. This is an entirely original study and themes identified and conclusions drawn should be taken with caution, acting merely as an introduction to the psychology behind the fascination in viewing morbid material.

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