From the September 2018 issue

The fear effect

This Halloween, beware the scares from above.
By | Published: September 26, 2018 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

Politicians know it. So do pharmaceutical companies. What is “it”? We’re talking about the power of fear to drive human behavior.

Some fears are common but elicit little sympathy, like coulrophobia (fear of clowns), which is exploited in horror movies. Others are rare, like turophobia (fear of cheese).

In many cases, being scared is simply an accepted part of life, like when kids terrorize their younger siblings. That’s so traditional that each generation takes pride in dreaming up new ways to do it.

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