ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "fear"

Anthropology in Practice

Clowns, Zombies, and Luck: More Halloween Favorites From Anthropology in Practice

Photo by Thomas Scilia, CC>

Haven’t had enough of ghosts and ghouls yet? Here are some favorites from Anthropology in Practice: Why are we afraid of clowns? Tricksters have a reputation for being bawdy, antisocial, and clever. They’re characters with whom many of us are quite familiar—Bugs Bunny, for example, is a trickster. Anansi the spider, Hermes, Loki, and Rumpelstiltskin [...]

Keep reading »
Anthropology in Practice

Why Are We Afraid of Clowns?

Ed. Note: What better way to round out Halloween than by considering why it is that clowns can strike fear into our hearts when they’re supposed to be harmless? Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. And I’ll admit that they make me nervous. I’m not totally crazy about hanging out with folks who think wearing [...]

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

The neuropsychology of public speaking: tipsy, scared, and strangely aroused

The next time you snap the waistband on your panties or enjoy a Speedos moment at the beach, have a moment of silence for the man who made it all possible—Wallace Carothers. The famous DuPont chemist and inventor of nylon (among other ubiquitous synthetic materials) was a very practical person, so much so that he [...]

Keep reading »
Bering in Mind

The problem with psychopaths: a fearful face doesn’t deter them

fearful face

Buon giorno from Florence, where I’m presently under the Tuscan sun—sizzling like bacon, I should add—as a hive of awestruck, pale-legged American tourists wearing Nikes, cargo shorts and Polo shirts descend with digital cameras at the ready on the Renaissance city’s signature Duomo in the Piazza Della Signoria. As for me, I’m at an overpriced [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

The Unexpected Dog Killer

Alison Kennedy-Benson permission granted Dog Spies

For some, it happens in the bathroom. For others, it’s the living room. All across America, as fireworks go off on July 4th, many dogs experience varying degrees of fear and stress. Some crouch and huddle in the bathtub; others pace, pant and whine in the living room; others wildly dig and chew; and of [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Usher might ruin your dog’s Fourth of July

5724364290_8e072caf9f_q

For many, the Fourth of July is about food, food, alcohol and more food (maybe with a side of baseball). But as late afternoon rolls around and people prepare for fireworks displays, you might remember, “Hey… didn’t Banjo freak out about the fireworks last year?” If you live in NYC, R&B star Usher is “curating” [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

The Lesson of the Fear of Vaccines.

Time for Society to Say Enough is Enough.          The science community laments that people deny the evidence science produces. Usually this complaint is merely descriptive, intellectual frustration sometimes tinged with arrogance. Sometimes the criticism of denialism also offers solutions, which usually include education and communication to make the deniers stop denying, to make [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

Beware the fear of nuclear….FEAR!

It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen. [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

The perception gap: An explanation for why people maintain irrational fears

A number of wonderful books decry the public’s seemingly irrational perceptions of risk. Seth Mnookin’s The Panic Virus is the latest, and builds on Michael Specter’s Denialism and Chris Mooney’s Unscientific America. Strong as each book is, unfortunately none get to the heart of the matter, and describes not how we feel, but WHY. Why [...]

Keep reading »
Guest Blog

In the wake of Wakefield: Risk-perception and vaccines

Last May British medical authorities stripped Dr. Andrew Wakefield of his license to practice medicine. In case the name isn’t familiar, Wakefield was the lead author of the 1998 paper published in The Lancet (and later retracted) that set off worldwide fear of vaccines. Now the British Medical Journal has jumped in, publishing an investigative [...]

Keep reading »
MIND Guest Blog

How to Erase Bad Memories

Courtesy of R. Douglas Fields.

I’ll never forget it. They strapped electrodes to my wrist, cranked up a black dial on a frightening electronic device encrusted with switches and knobs, and shocked me repeatedly with jolts of electricity. No, this was not torture and the memory is not a traumatic one. I was inside the laboratory of Dr. Daniela Schiller, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Psychology Reveals the Comforts of the Apocalypse

December 21, according to much-hyped misreadings of the Mayan calendar, will mark the end of the world. It’s not the first “end is nigh” proclamation—and it’s unlikely to be the last. That’s because, deep down for various reasons, there’s something appealing—at least to some of us—about the end of the world.   Enjoy the Self-Fulfilling [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Major Phobias Might Hasten Aging

phobias might cause premature aging

Do you get panicky in wide-open spaces? Tight, closed ones? What about in high places or—eek!—around arachnids? If these fears are frequent or debilitating, you might have a phobic anxiety. And you would not be alone—at least 8 percent of Americans have at least one. All of this psychological stress could be taking a toll [...]

Keep reading »
Streams of Consciousness

Terrified or Hopping Mad? What’s Going on Inside You [Video]

Courtesy of giarose via Flickr.

        // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the fourth video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based in [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X