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Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear

Opens September 27, 2014

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

  • Fear of Animals: Reach inside an opaque box connected to terrariums filled with snakes and other creatures - it's easier said than done.
  • Fear of Electric Shock: Feel your heart beat faster as you anticipate an electric shock.
  • Faces of Emotion: Identify which facial expressions correspond to our basic emotions and learn about how we communicate our feelings to others.
  • Facial Recognition: Interact with the Facial Expression Analysis system, a software program that detects movements of the face and tries to match them to their corresponding emotional expressions.
  • Freeze Game: Play an immersive put-yourself-in-the-picture video game that transports you to a savannah where you find out how important the freeze response is to survival in the animal kingdom. 
  • Make a Scary Movie: Experiment with different soundtracks and sound effects to create your own scary movie.

Fear has never been so much fun! 

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. 

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear 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.