Why Do We Like Mysteries

The Information We Miss Is Often The One We Are Most Interested In Throughout history, we have always been fascinated by mysteries. Questions we don’t have the immediate answer to just seem to be more interesting than the ones we could figure out momentarily. Here we explain why it is that we enjoy mysteries so much and what sorts of mysteries there are.

The Basics

In the simplest terms, a mystery is something we don’t understand or have an answer to right away. They are mainly fueled by our natural curiosity, which is the same driving force thanks to which we have developed a lot of our skills.

From an evolutionary standpoint, we need to know certain things (where can we find food, is this place dangerous etc.), so when we are presented with something implying it will provide us with more knowledge, we intuitively start to like it.

The promise of knowledge is simply alluring to us.

A different but just as important side is that mysteries make this information gap easily seen. There are a lot of things we don’t know and don’t have an interest in, but mysteries take advantage of our curiosity and show us exactly what it is we don’t know. This, alongside the fact that most of the more common mysteries are connected to crimes or love, which are some of our essential interests (survival or reproduction), make them irresistible.

As a bonus, the more information we have about the context, the easier it is to spot this information gap and the more we are motivated to fill it. The structure in which we are presented with mysteries, usually is also important. While most of the time we go chronologically when we experience something mysterious (be it a crime movie or a magic trick), we usually see the outcome first.

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This is yet another surprise our brains have to make sense of, which sparks our curiosity even more. Finally mysteries have the potential for epiphanies which is one of the best rewards for our brains.

Types Of Mysteries

There are some differences when talking about mysteries.

They can be big or small, have an answer or not, be presented by someone, or simply out there.

So let’s have a look at the different types!


For starters, they can be fictional. Here they can be portrayed through paintings, theater, or even music. The easiest example for them, however, is mystery novels – in them, we are presented with a problem and clues to finding its solution.

Regardless of whether the setting and environment are based in the real world or not, the basic premise is the same, and it works so well. Books like these are some of the biggest best-sellers in the world. Crime fiction makes us use our cognitive abilities and predict the possible outcomes of both future and past situations. Not only that but our personal judgment for each character is vital when trying to figure out what happened.


A different sort of mysteries are those which constantly surround us. Questions like how did the universe start or what exactly is our subconscious have been bugging the minds of some of our greatest scientists for centuries.

Whether such mysteries are in a specific field of study or more generalized, similar to the age-old question of why we are here, they keep being a part of our lives from time to time and will likely stay with us in the future. These types of inquiries are less likely to be characterized as mysteries simply because their scope is too big.

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We often find ourselves being too focused on our day-to-day lives to really start looking for the answers.


Here we are talking about the magic tricks done by magicians, as well as the logic puzzles you can buy yourself. What these have in common is that you have a physical representation of the problem you’re facing. Not only that, but you are encouraged by the one presenting you with the mystery to solve it yourself.

The only difference between the two is that when you see a magic show, the presumption is you won’t be able to solve it, which often makes it even more interesting.

Final Thoughts

Mysteries are all around us – in the form of art, items, or deceivingly simple questions – they are a part of our daily lives, as much as we allow them to be. Logically speaking, this makes all the sense in the world, seeing as how our curiosity has pushed us to evolve in a more complex matter.

If you just look around you, we are sure you will find some very immersive mysteries just waiting for you to figure them out.