There are three main influences, from the field of psychology, that played a major role in the shift to psycho killer themed cinema (of the fear genre).  The first is that deinstitutionalization  was a major catalyst that had people start making judgements and forming opinions on the mentally ill.  And these opinions were and are still not very accurate to reality.  Secondly the field of cognitive psychology was begging to form and the grip-hold that behaviourism had on psychology began to fade.  This caused a shift towards focusing on how audience members think and distorting that to help “scare” theme.  Lastly the field of forensic psychology and profiling were also taking place which had its obvious implications in influencing movies to focus on serial killers and criminal detectives (including profilers).

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