​Fantasising About Murdering Your Boss Is A Natural, Positive Thing - Says Psychologist

If you've ever dreamt or fantasised about killing your boss, you've probably panicked that somehow they've managed to tap your brain and know all about your sordid thoughts - before wondering if you are, in fact, a total psychopath.

But it turns out you don't need to worry, as such fantasies are only natural and not concerning whatsoever... apparently.

According to Dr. Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and honorary research associate at University College London, murder fantasies are actually a positive thing, as they prove that you're able to feel 'empathy' for the people you can't stand.

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. Credit: 20th Century Fox
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. Credit: 20th Century Fox

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Shaw said: "Popular targets are your boss, ex-partners - the list goes on, you can picture where your fantasies might go."

She added: "Now, of course most of us don't engage in murder ever, luckily."

In fact, Shaw reckons that murder fantasies are something of an 'empathy exercise', explaining: "You think things through, you imagine what the consequences would be like, you imagine what it might be like to actually go through with it and guess what your decision generally is? 'I don't want to do that, because those are not the consequences I would like'."

Shaw said that humans have evolved intelligence, which means we're able to predict and plan outcomes that might arise from the specific behaviours we choose.

Still from Horrible Bosses. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Still from Horrible Bosses. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

She continued: "Fantasies and empathy exercises are critical to making good decisions, particularly in situations where you don't have much time. While things are pretty good - that's the time to do empathy exercises.

"Now is the time to wrestle with your morality and do a health check, because you don't know what the future brings and you don't know what kind of quick decisions you might make later."

While speaking at the festival, Shaw also discussed murder more generally, and said she believes it's wrong to describe most killers as 'evil' because some might commit the fatal crimes due to a loss of control.

She said: "It's a cop-out, it's lazy - calling someone evil is saying, 'I'm done with this conversation, this person is subjectively bad, I don't need to empathise with them, I don't need to understand them I don't need to figure out why I might be similar to them in any way'."

It should go without saying, but please don't go round murdering any of your bosses.

Fantasising about doing it, though? Totally fine, it seems.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel (yeah, yeah, I know) and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013