Are you scared of clowns? You are not alone.
Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns, is a widely acknowledged phenomenon. Studies indicate this fear is present among both adults and children in many different cultures. Yet it is not well understood due to a lack of focused research.
So some psychologists got together and did a survey!
This research has provided some new insights into why people are afraid of clowns – yet more questions remain. For instance, if makeup which masks emotions causes fear, do people who have their faces painted as animals also create the same kind of effect? Or is there something more particular about the makeup of clowns that drives this fear? This is now the focus of our continued research.
Origins behind fear of clowns
- An eerie or unsettling feeling due to clowns’ makeup making them look not-quite-human. A similar response is sometimes seen with dolls or mannequins.
- Clowns’ exaggerated facial features convey a direct sense of threat.
- Clown makeup hides emotional signals and creates uncertainty.
- The colour of clown makeup reminds us of death, infection or blood injury, and evokes disgust or avoidance.
- Clowns’ unpredictable behavior makes us uncomfortable.
- Fear of clowns has been learned from family members.
- Negative portrayals of clowns in popular culture.
- A frightening experience with a clown.