Researchers have discovered the characteristics that make a person ‘creepy’.
Frank McAndrew and Sara Koehnke from Know College in Illinois specialise in ‘creepy’, and now, after a comprehensive study on the subject, they’ve co-authored a paper called On the Nature of Creepiness, which goes into great detail about all the factors that make a person creepy.
So, what does it mean to be a creepy person? Well, that’s what these intrepid researchers wanted to find out, so they asked 1341 people between 18 and 77 to list all the things that they thought made a person creepy, including their jobs, hobbies, mannerisms and behaviour.
The creepiest personality traits a person can have include:
standing too close to someone
having unkempt hair
dressing in odd clothes
having bulging eyes
having long fingers
having bags under eyes
licking lips frequently
laughing out of context
oversharing or talking loudly about uncomfortable topics, including sex
displaying unwanted sexual interest
asking to take a pictures of strangers
But being creepy is not limited to personality. Hobbies of the terminally creepy include collecting things such as dolls, insects and fingernails, or activities such as bird watching or other voyeuristic pursuits such as photography.
And what do creepy people do for a living? Well, being a clown topped the list (as if we didn’t already know that one!), followed by taxidermists, sex-shop owners, funeral directors and, believe it or not, taxi drivers. Unemployed people were sixth on the list of creepy occupations, which is ironic, as it’s not really an occupation, is it? Interestingly, writers were deemed the 11th creepiest occupation.
Oh, and men are creepier than women, but that may have been another no-brainer.
The study was published in New Ideas in Psychology and was undertaken to discover whether the feeling of being ‘creeped out’ could actually be quantified in some way. The results of the study were consistent with the hypothesis that a person’s ‘creep metre’ is ‘an evolved adaptive emotional response’ to the ambiguity of threat.
“Creepiness is all about not being able to figure out whether there is a threat,” said researcher Frank McAndrew.
Do you ever feel ‘creeped out’ by people? Can you explain why, even when it’s not so obvious? Do you think, in the modern world, creepiness is a lost art?
Read the full report (it’s really quite interesting)
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