As a pop culture phenomenon, the scared-of-clowns thing was played out 20 years ago, although a recent wave of creepy clown sightings has made the phobia fashionable once again. But is there any actual science behind it all? Turns out there is, as Natalia Reagan explains in today's Dnews report.
Fear of clowns is technically termed coulrophobia, but as an actual psychological condition, it's pretty rare. Most people are just kind of creeped out by clowns, and there are reasons for that, too. Clown makeup obscures an individual's identity, creating a psychological impression of deindividuation, which tends to put people on edge - same as with a burglar's mask or other disguise. There's also evidence to suggest clowns trigger the uncanny valley effect. So if you're weirded out by clowns, don't worry - you're supposed to be.
The Telegraph: Why are we so scared of clowns?
Wired: Why Brains Get Creeped Out By Androids
Vulture: An Expert Explains Why You're Scared of Creepy Clowns and Other Horror Tropes