I may be mistaken here but to me if I say that I have an "interest" in something, the other person might assume that I view that thing in a positive light (e.g. "I am interested in the stock market" could be perceived as "I like the stock market"). Is there a word which will signify not only that I am interested in something but that I am interested in a purely academic sense?
For example, I would feel uncomfortable saying "I am interested in serial killer's psychopathy and childhood trauma". What word could I replace "interested" with that would more or less mean "I am interested in serial killer's psychopathy and childhood trauma but in a purely academic sense"?

I looked at synonyms for 'interested' that could convey that I am interested but that don't have the positive connotations that are attributed to the word. 'Absorbed' and 'engrossed' came up but those seem to be stronger words than merely just interested so they don't help. 'Intrigued' and 'curiosity' also came up and those seem to be pretty much the same as 'interested' and appear to have the same connotation as well.

I might be wrong to assume the positive connotation of 'interested' or 'intrigued' but I usually see it in writing and speech with such a connotation. What do you think? Is there a word that could fit better than 'interested' or 'intrigued'? Am I wrong to assume a positive connotation when there is none?

  • I don't find anything strange in saying that you're interested in serial killer pathology. Many psychologists are. Having an active interest in something does not mean that you are in favour of or enjoy the thing in and of itself. The same is true of fascination Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 23:34
  • 2
    If you're not insisting on a single word, you can say, "I am interested in learning more about x" or " I would like to study x". Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 0:11
  • I think you're mistaken in thinking that interested in means views in a positive light. It may or may not. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 23:22
  • Both interested and intrigued work perfectly well for me here. To me, interested suggests that you may be motivated to inquire more about the subject, while intrigued suggests a more passive and reactive disposition.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 12:51

3 Answers 3


A word that signifies an interest in something but in an academic sense?

You have given your own answer:

"I have an academic interest in the psychopathy and childhood traumas of serial killers."

This is opposition to a lurid/morbid/obsessive, etc. interest.


You could say " I regularly examine/study/research serial killer's psychopathy and childhood trauma " and that would get the idea across.


You could say "I am learning about psychopathy and childhood trauma." or, if you want something a little stronger, you can try "I am gaining many insights into psychopathy and childhood trauma."

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