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Age-old fear of clowns could stem from several causes

Viral Goradia, MDWidespread news reports of “creepy clowns” tie into a real fear that could stem from various sources, says a doctor specializing in forensic psychiatry at Upstate. Fear of clowns, called coulrophobia, has been around for centuries and may tie in to a primitive fear of people with a deformed appearance, says Viral Goradia, MD. It could also relate to the “uncanny valley” hypothesis, which describes how dolls or robots that appear almost human evoke fear and revulsion. This and other phobias can also come from childhood – either through a traumatic experience or a behavior learned from one‘s parents, Goradia explains.