Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear
PublicAffairs, 9781610397162, 288pp.
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Shiver-inducing science not for the faint of heart. No one studies fear quite like Margee Kerr. A sociologist who moonlights at one of America's scariest and most popular haunted houses, she has seen grown men laugh, cry, and push their loved ones aside as they run away in terror. And she's kept careful notes on what triggers these responses and why. Fear is a universal human experience, but do we really understand it? If we're so terrified of monsters and serial killers, why do we flock to the theaters to see them? Why do people avoid thinking about death, but jump out of planes and swim with sharks? For Kerr, there was only one way to find out. In this eye-opening, adventurous book, she takes us on a tour of the world's scariest experiences: into an abandoned prison long after dark, hanging by a cord from the highest tower in the Western hemisphere, and deep into Japan's mysterious "suicide forest." She even goes on a ghost hunt with a group of paranormal adventurers. Along the way, Kerr shows us the surprising science from the newest studies of fear--what it means, how it works, and what it can do for us. Full of entertaining science and the thrills of a good ghost story, this book will make you think, laugh--and scream.
About the Author
Margee Kerr has a PhD in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently teaches. She is also a nationally recognized expert on professional haunted houses and works year-round for the ScareHouse haunted house, analyzing data on customers and employees to make its attractions scarier. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Parade, Atlantic Monthly, and NPR's Science Friday, among other places. She is also is the coinvestigator on the country's first-of-its-kind study measuring fear in the real world, collecting data on how the brain and body responds in real-life threatening situations. She lives in Pittsburgh.