image clown

Why do we fear clowns?

Lots of people think clowns are creepy, but some folks have a genuine fear of clowns – what’s known as coulrophobia. Researchers wanted to explore what’s behind this fear and surveyed nearly a thousand adults around the world to analyze their fear of clowns.

The main reason for their fear was a psychological one: hidden emotional signals. A fear of clowns stems from not being able to see their facial expressions due to their makeup. We cannot see their ‘true’ faces and therefore cannot understand their emotional intent. For some of us, this feels uneasy and slightly creepy. For others, it’s downright frightening.

Evolutionary seen this has a clear reason. Our brains are prediction machines. We want to be able to make as accurate as possible predictions of what’s coming up as this is what increases our chance of survival. Still today our brains work like this. Not being able to predict (because you cannot read someone’s facial expression) is therefore likely to stress people out. No wonder some of the best movie antagonists wear masks…