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The Upside of Fear: How and Why We Enjoy Thrills and Chills by Dr. Margee Kerr

  • Colorado Mountain College Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center 901 Highway 24 KW room CM 401 Leadville, CO, 80461 United States (map)

Fear is a universal human experience, but do we really understand it? If we’re so terrified of monsters and serial killers, why do we flock to the theaters to see them? Why do people avoid thinking about death, but jump out of planes and swim with sharks? This lecture will not only cover the science of fear, but explain why some of us love the thrill of a rollercoaster while others detest it. Dr. Kerr will explain fear from a physiological, psychological, and sociological perspective to show how fear is not all bad, and can even be good for us.

Margee Kerr has a PhD in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently teaches and conducts research on fear, with a focus on how and why people engage with frightening or thrilling material and activities like haunted houses, the paranormal, and thrill rides. Dr. Kerr is the co-investigator on a first-of-its-kind study measuring fear in the real world by collecting psychophysiology data measuring how the brain and body respond in real-life threatening situations. She is the author of SCREAM: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, named as a must read by the Washington Post. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Parade, Atlantic Monthly, and NPR’s Science Friday, among other places.