It is a truth universally acknowledged that clowns are creepy.
Much like people who stare, close-talkers and men who rub up against you on public transport.
In general, “creepiness” is one of those ill-defined know-it-when-you-see-it (or when it brushes up against your leg) sort of traits, but a new study has confirmed specific things make certain people more likely to give you that “creeped out” feeling than others.
Yes, including that job as a clown.
“It is our belief that creepiness is anxiety aroused by the ambiguity of whether there is something to fear or not and/or by the ambiguity of the precise nature of the threat (e.g. sexual, physical violence, contamination, etc.) that might be present,” the study’s authors Francis McAndrew and Sara Koehnke explained.
“Such uncertainty results in a paralysis as to how one should respond.”
So the cold or chill you feel when you encounter something unnerving may actually be an evolved psychological response, designed to keep you safe.
Anyone who's seen 'It' knows.
The study analysed survey responses from more than 1,300 people to figure out what scared them the most.
In news surprising no one, men were thought to be creepier than women in general, and women more often associated sexual threat with creepiness.