The Psychology Behind The Fear of Clowns
A 2008 study found that coulrophobia, or a fear of clowns, was quite common in children. Another “creepy” study published in 2016 by social psychologist Frank T. McAndrew found that clowns topped the list for creepiest occupation. That same study found that one of the main characteristics that made something creepy was unpredictable behavior.
“… getting ‘creeped out’ is a response to the ambiguity of threat …” – Frank T. McAndrew, social psychologist, via Insider
Adding to this idea is a theory from Canadian psychologist Rami Nadar stating that all that clown make-up hides a person’s identity. This can seem very creepy. “They have these large, artificial, painted-on expressions, which you know don’t actually represent how that clown is feeling because nobody can be happy all the time …” – Rami Nadar, Canadian psychologist, via Insider
“The clown insists that we laugh. We may not want to laugh. The situation becomes, at best, awkward, and at worst, combined with the unsettling colorful familiarity, terrifying.” – Jordan Gaines Lewis, neuroscientist, via ‘Psychology Today’