How creepy are YOU?
When someone or something is creepy, you don't just think it; you usually experience it throughout your body. The unease begins as the feeling of being uncomfortable, and when the sensation of creepiness intensifies you may get goosebumps or that crawling flesh feeling.
When you're creeped out, you may internally or outwardly shudder because something isn't right; in fact, it's vaguely threatening, even if the person or situation isn't overtly dangerous. You're not sure why you're getting the heebie-jeebies, but your anxiety levels are rising, and you feel apprehensive and nervous.
A recent study titled "On the nature of creepiness" from Knox University in Illinois discovered some traits that are overwhelmingly associated as creepy, and that our creepiness detector may actually be a defense against some sort of threat.
Lead researcher, Frank T. McAndrew, Ph.D., told Psychology Today, "I believe 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) that might be present. Thus, it is only when we are confronted with uncertainty about [the] threat that we get creeped out, and such uncertainty results in paralysis as how to respond."
McAndrew and co-author of the study, Sara Koehnke, interviewed 1,342 individuals (1,029 females and 312 males) of all ages using an online survey to determine what makes someone creepy.
In the first part of the survey, participants were asked to imagine that a close friend said they had just met a creepy person. The participants were then asked to rate the likelihood that the creepy person would show 44 different patterns of behavior (such as avoiding eye contact) and physical characteristics (greasy hair) on a scale of one (very unlikely) to five (very likely).
In the second half of the study, the participants were asked to rate the creepiness of 21 different occupations on a scale of one (not so creepy) to five (extremely creepy). The participants were asked to list two hobbies they thought were creepy. Finally, the participants were asked to indicate how much they agreed with 15 statements about creepy people, such as, "I think that the person has a sexual interest in me."
The researchers found that these are the traits of creepy people.
1. You're male.
The study found that creepy people are much more likely to be males than females.
2. You give off a sexual threat vibe.
Females are more likely to perceive a sexual threat from creepy people.
3. You have a creepy job.
4. You're unpredictable.
Unpredictability is an important component of perceived creepiness.
5. You have a variety of non-normative physical characteristics.
Creepsters tend to have oily or messy hair, bulging eyes, and very pale skin.
6. You don't know you're creepy.
Study participants didn't think that most creepy people know that they're creepy, and that most creepy people probably don't have creepy intentions. However, the participants did believe that creepy people can't change.
7. You have strange hobbies.
The top two creepiest hobbies are collecting things, such as dolls, insects or body parts (like teeth, bones, or fingernails), and hobbies that include watching (e.g., taking pictures of people, watching child porn and even bird-watching).
"I think it makes good sense that men would be perceived as creepy more frequently If getting 'creeped out' is about being on high alert to determine if there is something to be afraid of or not, men out to set off the alarm more than women would," McAndrew told The Huffington Post. "Men are more potentially dangerous to men and women alike; it could also explain why women (more than men) are likely to perceive some sort of sexual threat from a creepy individual."
If you don't want to be thought of as creepy, then I wouldn't advise going to taxidermy or clown school. Also, wash your hair on a more frequent basis. You don't want to make anyone's skin crawl.