Here's your word of the day: "Coulrophobia" is the fear of CLOWNS. And a new study found over half of us have it to some degree. 1,000 people of all ages were polled, and 54% said they're scared of them at least a little bit. That includes 5% who said "extremely afraid." So why are clowns so scary? To find out, they asked that 54% group a bunch of follow-up questions. Here are eight reasons we find them scary, ranked from most to least common . . .
1. "Hidden emotional signals." Meaning their make-up makes them impossible to read. So you can't tell if they're happy, angry . . . or about to murder you.
2. Negative portrayals in the media. Things like the movie "It" have taught us to be afraid of them.
3. Their behavior is unpredictable, and that makes us nervous.
4. They don't quite look human. It's something called the "uncanny valley effect." Some people have the same reaction to dolls and realistic robots.
5. Their exaggerated facial features make them seem threatening.
6. The color of their make-up reminds us of death, disease, and blood.
7. A parent or family member's fear of clowns rubbed off on you.
8. You've had a scary encounter with a clown at some point in your life. It's fairly common for people with a fear of clowns, but it ranked last out of those eight reasons.
(The Conversation / Frontiers)