So whilst on holiday in Florida back in the last two weeks, we went to all the theme parks and water parks. What this involved is roller-coasters, flumes and rides. However, whilst others on the holiday were adventurous with the rides, I am a bit reluctant when it comes to rides. I like to know what I’m in for, which is what I’m going to talk about today.
Fear of the unknown. Why do people fear roller-coasters, clowns and other things we can’t assign an identity to? Is there a psychological element to this fear?
Now, those who have been following my blog for a while now will know that I like the mind – it interests me – and that I like to write about psychology whenever I can. So I couldn’t resist writing this post when the idea came to mind. Anyway, back to the topic of today’s post…
I am not a psychologist, so can only give it from my point of view and my knowledge. Here we go!
Fear of the unknown is often assigned to the inability to identify something, whether it be something like identity, time, or future happenings.
It can also be assigned to time. For example, we went to a water park named Wet ‘n Wild on our holiday, which sees a flume where people enter a capsule and at any moment the floor gives way. The person inside the capsule then falls into a slide which takes a vertical drop. Pretty scary, huh?
The fear in this is that we like to be organised as a species. We are animals that just go ahead and get stuff done. We like to put times on things we do. We like to know that at 12 we are going to have lunch and at 7 we have dinner, for example. We like schedules.
This ride in particular uses that, but on a smaller scale. What some people fear on that ride is the timescale to which the trapdoor falls. We can’t put a time as to when it will go. For some, it may be a second, or two. It changes, and that is fear of the unknown.
Then there is fear of the unknown in terms of identity. This may be why children and some adults fear clowns and other similar people, it is because we are unable to identify who the person is underneath. We are unable to determine whether they’re good or bad. Nothing is revealed about them, they are “unknown”.
Fear of the unknown is often used in horror movies. The cliched moments where the protagonist peers round a corner. Suspense is created because we fear the unknown. The “unknown” in this situation is “what is around the corner?”
So, going back to roller-coasters, and other rides, most are based inside (well, at Florida they were), which doesn’t allow riders to know what the ride involves. For me, that is why I don’t go on many rides.