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International Media Take a Close Look at Knox Research

Don't get too close: that would be "creepy"

Two Knox College students in a theatre rehearsal.

Take a close look at this research by Knox College psychology professor Frank McAndrew and one of his students.

Just don't get too close: that would be "creepy." 

Research into "creepiness" was conducted by Frank McAndrew and one of his students, Sara Koehnke, and recently published in the journal New Ideas in Psychology. Media worldwide have glommed onto their study of the feeling you get when something feels weird.

In the article, McAndrew and Koehnke wrote that feeling "creeped out" is a "universal human response" to uncertainty.

Coverage includes:

"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," wrote McAndrew and Koehnke.

Knox College reported on the research and earlier coverage in media including Business Insider and Smithsonian Magazine, in a 2015 article: Research Defines "Creepiness"

Originating as Koehnke's senior research project in psychology in 2012, the survey gathered more than 1,300 responses of women and men between the ages of 18 and 77 who were asked about physical qualities or lifestyle choices that would be seen as creepy.

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Printed on Sunday, July 14, 2024