A question of fear…
Here was something fun.
I have to start by noting this is not a controlled study, nor was their a statistical analysis plan, nor a set of guidelines for data collection. I simply asked people who I was talking to at a show “What are you afraid of…” and collected a single answer. The results might be surprising.
We can start with a study that was documented from SafeHome.Org that rates fears of Americans. The top 10 are noted here:
I hate to discount this study (I have no reference) but it seems to be guided towards certain answers. In looking at how the fear index is created it is based on keywords mostly associated with the news.
First, it is expected to note that the highest percentage were afraid of Death. I was not sure in todays world but people by in large would note death and then potentially digress.
What was more interesting was the number of other items that seemed to range to just about everywhere. I had 4 people say books first but I set those aside as they were joking and all engaged another way. /what surprised me was the lack of notations about war, nuclear Armageddon, mass shootings (Though there was a gun notation) and the lack of high numbers on public speaking. Instead when you talk about fear it still seems to be a very personal experience.
Of course the n is quite low here and my expectation would be a normalization if the number was extended well beyond the people visiting my booth at the art fair. Still, the idea behind it is quite interesting compared to what I have noticed online and on TV. No one was worried about nuclear war, and few were worried about violence outside of a small scope. The fears that have been around for a long time seemed to be thing first things that came to mind. Without prodding or giving choices the numbers widened quickly.
With all that in mind I will continue to believe fear, passion, and most intense emotions are very personal, but I welcome a myriad of ideas to understand it all a little more! If you like thinking about fear try out my books, or look for a third Slice of Fear around Halloween!