When we do and don’t like to be scared


With Halloween around the corner, scary decorations are everywhere. It’s a thrilling celebration to most, but not everyone enjoys fear. So what’s the difference? Why do some love being scared by the spooky, but no one enjoys the thought of a real life doomsday contagion. On Voices in the Family with Dr. Dan Gottlieb, we speak with experts who study fear, and discuss the differences.

Our guests are:

Dr. Priscilla Wald, author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative, a study of the intersection of medicine and myth in the idea of contagion and the evolution of the contemporary stories we tell about the global health problem of “emerging infections. Wald is also the author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form. She is also editor of American Literature as well as on the Editorial Board of Literature and Medicine as well as a is a member of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and an affiliate of the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and the Institute for Global Health.

We hear from Dr. Cindy Dell Clark about how and why some kids are truly terrified of the Halloween scaring ritual, and also Dr. Margaret Kerr – a psychologist who does fear research for haunted houses, and who will reference a fascinating study by Dr. David Zald, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. Zald is the also the head of their Affective Neuroscience Lab. Among his many experiments in the human fear response is one where he turned his own house into a fear response lab at Halloween.

World Health Organization
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever | CDC

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