Smithsonian Cites Faculty Work on “Creepiness”

f-2015-07-15-mcandrew-smithsonianFrom: Smithsonian (Washington, DC) –

Smithsonian magazine cites research by Knox prof Frank McAndrew for an article on doll collecting, and why dolls sometimes seem “creepy”:

…In 2013, Frank McAndrew, a psychologist at Knox College in Illinois, and Sara Koehnke, a graduate student, put out a small paper on their working hypothesis about what “creepiness” means; the paper was based on the results of a survey of more than 1,300 people investigating what “creeped” them out (collecting dolls was named as one of the creepiest hobbies).

Creepiness, McAndrew says, comes down to uncertainty. “You’re getting mixed messages. If something is clearly frightening, you scream, you run away. If something is disgusting, you know how to act,” he explains. “But if something is creepy… it might be dangerous but you’re not sure it is… there’s an ambivalence….” Read more…