In this part of the research study, two children of 5 and 6 were interviewed in order to get their general impression on clowns. The two young children indicated that they thought that clowns were “scary” due to the weird way they looked, the sounds they made and the general behavior or attitude that they constantly displayed. This made me believe that coulrophobia is a kind of a manifestation of one’s fears towards something unknown. In the next section, people of 40 and above age category will help one to clarify this assumption.
An examination of two research subjects in this category reveals that people of this age do not have coulrophobia. Instead, they either find clowns funny or annoying, depending on the situation. When asked if they feared clowns in their childhood, they would say they did, however, as they grew older, their fear gradually faded since they gained an understanding of what a “clown” was.
Based on the results of the examination, I have to say that I discovered that coulrophobia among children is related to the concept of the “strange and unknown” wherein children tend to view the general appearance of clowns as being completely different from what they are used to, resulting in the development of fear towards them.
The article “Coulrophobia” (2011) underlines the fact that clowns are normally portrayed positively in children’s shows, as such, the development of a certain degree of fear towards them is connected more with a psychological reaction related to facing something new, unknown and thus “scary” (Coulrophobia, 2011). Evidence supporting the article that examines the given age category, showed that by obtaining knowledge about the identity and purpose of clowns, people eventually overcame all fear towards them.
Engaging in Sociological Research
For me, engaging in sociological research was quite interesting since it allowed me to understand how people view certain types of fears and how it affected them based on the demographic of the research subject.
When making research on the ability of the media to influence people, various readings stress it out that the media definitely did have an impact on the way people developed preconceived notions in regards to certain subjects.
For example, Layton in his study (2010), pointed out that the development of social perceptions regarding people, places and things through the media without prior research or sufficient understanding on the part of the viewer is considered to be a form of irrational exuberance, which is a psychological process, where people tend to model their behavior on the actions of others (Layton, 2010).
This means that if the mass media were to portray an individual in a bad light, the process of irrational exuberance would ensure that people who rely on the media for information are likely to view this individual with disdain as well (Lunt & Livingstone, 2013).
Taking this into consideration, irrational exuberance can, thus, be applied to other factors, such as inanimate objects, specific jobs (i.e. being a clown), among other examples. When an individual is more knowledgeable about the fact that their irrational exuberance tends to wear off, he or she formulates more logical methods of decision making. This explains why presently people are quick to judge others through the media.
Coulrophobia. (2011). Economist, 398(8734), 74.
Layton, L. (2010). Irrational exuberance: Neoliberal subjectivity and the perversion of truth. Subjectivity: International Journal Of Critical Psychology, 3(3), 303-322.
Lunt, P., & Livingstone, S. (2013). Media studies’ fascination with the concept of the public sphere: critical reflections and emerging debates. Media, Culture & Society, 35(1), 87-96.