clowns
Researchers have decided to study the psychology behind what makes people afraid and have found clowns as one of the scariest professions in the world. (Shutterstock.com)

Researchers have decided to study the psychology behind what makes people afraid and have found clowns as one of the scariest professions in the world.

In the journal of New Ideas in Psychology, Francis T. McAndrew studied the “nature of creepiness”. The study surveyed 1341 different individuals and asked the participants what they found “creepy”. Researchers asked subjects to rate the creepiness level of 44 different types of physical and behavioral traits.

The results demonstrated that people find men, abnormal physical traits, strange patterns of eye contact, odd emotional responses and unpredictable behavior as creepy. In addition, subjects chose “clown” as the creepiest listed profession.

McAndrew basically argues that people are afraid of what they do not understand. “This study is consistent with the notion that the perception of creepiness is a response to the ambiguity of threat.”

The result comes after a wave of clown sightings across America. Since last August, there have been dozens of reports of threatening clowns nearby schools, homes and colleges. Many people have dismissed these clown sightings as mere pranks, but police officers have arrested dozens of people in connection with these clown sightings.

A 14-year-old was arrested in California when he threatened high school students and faculty on an Instagram page called “Fontana’s Killer Clowns.” Police say the teenager wanted to scare people and go viral on social media.

In addition, a mother in San Francisco fought off a person dressed as a clown, who grabbed her one-year-old daughter. “I thought he was going to kiss her hand. Instead, he pulled her arm literally, so I pulled her arm back and I kicked him,” said Tiffany Martin.

The creepiness of clowns has even reached the White House. When asked if President Barack Obama was aware of the numerous clown sightings across the United States, White House Press Secretary responded by saying, “I don’t know that the president has been briefed on this particular situation.”

Some people are so threatened by the numerous clown sightings that they are organizing neighborhood watch groups. Recently, hundreds of students at Penn State University launched a manhunt after a clown was reportedly seen on campus.

In defense of the multiple clown sightings, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey released a statement  saying, “It is troubling because it’s a distraction for our clowns who just want to make people laugh and smile.”