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Are you afraid of the dark? Sociologist Margee Kerr sheds light on the science of fear

"Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear" by Margee Kerr
Public Affairs Books

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It doesn’t take much to scare us.

Fear could be triggered by a graveyard at midnight, a horror flick or the thought of jumping out of a plane. But how many people write off their fears without exploring them?

Entire film and entertainment industries have been built around the concept that being frightened is fun. We even celebrate a holiday that’s main appeal is scaring the hell out of us—so to speak.

Sociologist Margee Kerr has dedicated her career to the study of being afraid. In her new book, “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear,” she takes readers through an abandoned prison, a ghost hunt and even to Japan’s “suicide forest.”

Today, Kerr speaks with Larry Mantle on why we’re drawn to frightening situations and what keeps us coming back for more.


Margee Kerr, fear sociologist and author of “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear” (Public Affairs, 2015)