Tyson and his colleagues began studying “clownphobia,” or the fear of clowns. The prevalence of clown phobia is not clear, but recent research It turns out that in the United States, about 5 percent of the population says they are afraid or very afraid of clowns. Tyson’s team used a unique survey to identify more than 500 people who suffer from clown phobia and asked them to rate their feelings towards clowns.
How much did they think about clowns?
What would they do if they encountered a clown on the street?
How long have they been afraid of the Red-Nosed Jokester?
In what is probably the first study of its kind to focus on the origins of clown fear, a team from the University of South Wales noticed some distinct patterns within the group. The study, called “Fear of Clowns: An Investigation into the Etiology of the Phobia,” was published in the journal frontiers of psychology. Although the study was not based on a representative sample of the population, Tyson said the findings provide insight into why some people fear clowns.
One of the most surprising findings was that for many people, “frightening personal experiences with clowns were not the primary source of fear,” Tyson said. Instead, people said they were creeped out by clowns because:
- You can never really know what a clown is thinking. It can be difficult to know what’s really going on in the mind of a smiling or grimacing clown. “There’s something wrong with not being able to read facial expressions,” Tyson said. “And the fact that there may be something hidden and dangerous, that there may be harmful intentions behind the makeup.”
- Clowns are unpredictable. Clowns make some people laugh, but they often do unpredictable and surprising things that normal people would never do (such as squirting water from flowers or honking their horns). People who are afraid of spiders say similar things, Tyson said, because they worry that the spider will jump on them unexpectedly.
- The clown’s exaggerated facial features are unpleasant. Big red nose, egg head, neon colored hair. people, baby dolls, aliens, Robots get in the way.
- Clowns in movies are scary. Many of those surveyed also attributed their fear, in part, to movies featuring scary clowns, such as Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” and the demonic clown Pennywise in Stephen King’s “IT.” He said he is doing so.
The fear of clowns is not entirely based on fiction. John Wayne Gacy, the mass murderer who murdered at least 33 teenagers and young adults in the Chicago area, was known to entertain as “Pogo the Clown” at his children’s parties.in trailer In a Netflix documentary about Gacy, he is heard on tape saying, “Clowns can get away with anything.” Recently, there have been a number of creepy clown sightings. England And in 2016, the United States locked down schools, which led to Dr. Tweet“Hey, guys, it’s time to calm down the clown hysteria – most of them are good guys, cheer up the kids and make people laugh.”
The clowns would like to say something.
John DavisonThe clown performer, teacher, director and researcher at London Metropolitan University says reports about red fear don’t match what he’s seen or heard from other performers. Stated. He said he has only encountered fear of clowns twice in his 38 years as a clown. Clowns usually aren’t trying to upset or make the audience uneasy when he performs, he says.
“Actually, it’s quite the opposite,” Davison says. His goal is to portray this person as “helpless, vulnerable, and doesn’t really have a clue about how the world works.”
The clowns want the audience to laugh at their performances, but they also want people to empathize with the characters who are “at the mercy of our society.” “It feels human somehow,” he said. “You look like a little child.”
What makes people creepy?
Tyson and his colleagues are studying whether it is certain aspects of clown make-up, specifically white and red paint, that cause fear or phobia.
james grevilleThe University of South Wales psychology lecturer said one theory was that white face paint could be perceived as “deadly pale”, pale and lifeless and something to be avoided. . Also, red lipstick or clown facial accents can feel threatening because they play on our wariness about blood and contagious diseases.
frank mcandrewThe psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, said he is a “firm believer” that clowns have “great intentions” to entertain audiences, but he is not sure if anyone would be alarmed when seeing a clown. does not change. People don’t want to be the butt of jokes, McAndrew said.
“No one comes out of an interaction with a dignified clown,” he said. “Clowns are a threat to many people who want to look good in public.”
In 2016, McAndrew co-authored the following paper: study The study, titled “Understanding the Nature of Eeriness,” surveyed more than 1,300 people to better understand the behaviors and characteristics that lead to feelings of eeriness. In one section, respondents rated 21 different occupations from “not creepy at all” to “very creepy.”
Clowns received the highest scores of the group, receiving higher marks for creepiness than taxidermists, sex shop workers, and undertakers.
McAndrew said there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to interacting with clowns. You don’t know how the performers will react, and that can make you anxious.
“There’s a very easy connection between clowns and horror,” he said. “I don’t think they became creepy to us just because people started putting them in haunted houses. The reason they were put in haunted houses in the first place was because people thought they were creepy.” I think it’s the body.”
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