Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear

On view September 27 through January 4, 2015

Are you curious about coulrophobia? Paranoid about pyrophobia? Avidly avoiding aviophobia?

Fear is a universal emotion. Regardless of what scares us, we all share the same biological response to fear. Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear examines the physiological, neurological and sociological aspects of this often misunderstood emotion.

Immersive and engaging hands-on activities encourage visitors to experience fear in a safe and enjoyable environment, while also measuring their responses and thinking about what it means to them.

Exhibit Highlights

  • The Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear experience begins in the Fear Lab with an introduction by the kid-friendly “host” Mr. Goose Bumps. The Fear Lab demonstrates how the brain and body work together through hands-on activities, video and exhibit interactives.
  • You’ll hear lots of laughter coming from The Challenge Course, which allows guests to face four common fears through interactive experiences: Fear of Animals, Fear of Electric Shock, Fear of Loud Noises and Fear of Falling.**
  • Faces of Emotion: Identify which facial expressions correspond to our basic emotions and learn about how we communicate our feelings to others.
  • Make a Scary Movie: Experiment with different soundtracks and sound effects to create your own scary movie.
  • This exhibition is appropriate for all ages and is not “scary” in the traditional sense. Visitors can easily bypass any experience they prefer to omit, and half the fun is watching others. It’s so much fun, it’s scary!

Tickets for Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear are included with Museum admission and are free for members.

*Coulrophobia = fear of clowns; pyrophobia = fear of fire; aviophobia = fear of flying. 

**Please note: The Fear of Falling component requires staff facilitation and may not be available non-holiday weekdays after 1pm. There are height and weight restrictions on this interactive, which are posted inside the exhibition. 

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear was developed by the California Science Center and supported, in part, by the Informal Science Education program of the National Science Foundation under grant ESI-0515470. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Science Foundation. 

Dates are subject to change without notice.