If You Fear Clowns, You May Have Coulrophobia

Brilliance | Dec. 14, 2017

Clowns are innocent, goofy, fun. Right? Everyone loves clowns, don't they? Though clowns are meant to be the personification of harmless fun, they don't deliver that message to a lot of people. In fact, an estimated 12 percent of American adults have a fear of clowns. This intense fear is known as coulrophobia. But where did it come from if clowns just want to make people happy? Well, for one thing, the media sure isn't helping the cause.

Negative clown imagery has popped up in different media for decades. Stephen King's Pennywise from "It," the Joker from Batman, "Killer Clowns From Outer Space," and even the real-life serial killer clown, John Wayne Gacy. And though the media may be to blame for perpetuating the creepy clown image, the uncanny valley may be one of the elements that planted the seed. The uncanny valley describes something that is close to human-looking, but just off enough to make it appear eerie. Clowns are also covered in makeup, which can be unsettling because it makes it harder to read the emotions of the clown and even identify who the person behind the makeup really is. Learn more about this common fear in the videos below.

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