Curious about coulrophobia, pyrophobia, or aviophobia (the fear of clowns, fire, and flying)? Want to know why your adrenaline system kicks into overdrive when you are afraid, causing your breath to quicken, your heart to race, and the hairs on your skin to stand on end? Starting June 11 through September 5, 2011, the Pacific Science Center is taking a good hard look at the hows and whys of our fears.

The world’s first comprehensive exhibit about the universal emotion, Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear delivers excitement and fun (along with a few shivers) and provides an experiential and holistic view of fear science — examining physiological, neurological, and sociological aspects of this often misunderstood emotion. Engaging hands-on activities encourage visitors to experience fear in a safe and enjoyable environment, measure their responses, and think about what it means to them.

Interactives include:

  • Fear of Animals — Reach inside an opaque box connected to terrariums filled with snakes and other creatures – it’s easier said than done.
  • Fear of Electric Shock — Feel your heart beat faster as you anticipate an electric shock.
  • Faces of Emotion — Identify which facial expressions correspond to our basic emotions and learn about how we communicate our feelings to others.
  • Facial Recognition — Interact with the Facial Expression Analysis system, a software program that detects movements of the face and tries to match them to their corresponding emotional expressions.
  • The Survival Game — Chose the level of fearfulness of virtual prey animals and see how each fares once virtual predators are introduced into the environment. Make a Scary Movie– Experiment with different soundtracks and sound effects to create your own scary movie.
For ticket prices and more information, visit the Pacific Science Center’s website at

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