The psychology behind clown sightings

The psychology behind clown sightings

We've shared reports of clown sightings around Central Georgia, and Tuesday, some Bibb-County kids told investigators that a group of clowns chased them near their bus stop.

The sheriff's office says they've found no evidence to support that.

Sarah Nell Newsome, a Freshmen at Wesleyan College says she's seen videos of clowns from her hometown of Augusta. It's all over her social media timeline.  

“Clowns scare people,” said Newsome. “A lot of people have an irrational fear of clowns, the makeup, the creepy laugh,” said Newsome.

Newsome said that you can never tell what the clowns will do. She's seen articles about them from different states and received a text message from a friend a few days ago that read clowns popped up in Central Georgia.  

“I think now it's turned into a copycat kind of thing just because of how far it spread so quickly,” said Newsome.

She's not the only one who believes that. Associate Professor of Psychology, Brooke Bennett- Day, says people are copying what they see and possibly spreading it through social media.

“There was some attention given to either a clown sighting or even just the rumors, and that someone thinks that it's exciting and they can also do that in their neighborhood,” said Bennett- Day.

She says that concealing your identity in the form of masks and makeup allows someone to feel like they have more freedom. It's called "deindividuation." 

“When you're not as recognizable, you feel a little more free from social norms, and so you feel like you can go do things that may be illegal or might not be as ethical or moral,” said Bennett-Day

As for freshman student, Newsome she hopes the clown sightings will stop. 

“They should probably quit eventually, because it's getting to the point where it's not just a let me stand here and scare people thing anymore. It's becoming a physical thing,” said Newsome.


If you took a photo of an actual clown sighting around town,  send your picture to us through our Facebook page or through Your Take.


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