If you’re a woman reading this, then the article already confirms what you’ve suspected all along: men are the creepier sex. If you’re a man reading this, don’t grunt in indignation just yet. The study done by Knox University outlines what behavioural traits are considered creepy, why don’t you just keep reading until it’s time to tick those off to find out just how many you’re guilty of?
The Department of Psychology at Knox College set out on a mission to first define that particular brand of uncomfortable nervousness we know as being ‘creeped out’ and then get to the source of what it is that invokes the feeling. After taking an international sample of 1,341 people, the results revealed men are the creepier sex and that females are more likely to associate a sexual threat with creepiness.
But what exact behaviour causes the uneasiness in the first place? It was found that unpredictable behaviour from others was the reason behind those goosebumps, along with the inability to read social cues.
Someone standing too close to you or a friend.
Laughing at unpredictable moments
Trapping you in a conversation where you cannot leave without coming across as rude
Steering the conversation towards a topic you have no interest in
Not making eye contact during a conversation
Watching someone without approaching them
Showing sexual interest without reciprocation
If you’re a male and you kept reading and didn’t tick any of those off, good for you. But it’s also worth mentioning that physical appearance and online behaviour contributed to the air of creepiness. Being overly persistent online (read: having a one-sided conversation in your crush’s inbox), oily hair, not being upfront about your intentions and staring were all signs of being a creep.
“I think the creepiness response is an adaptive response, whether you’re dealing with a person or a place,” says Frank McAndrew, the lead researcher on the study. “You become hyper-focused on trying to resolve this puzzle: Is this person a threat or not?”
Clearly creepy is a vibe. The study also found that there are certain professions are associated with creepiness more than other. You would think those shrouded in death would top the list, but being an embalmer just didn’t make the cut. Clowns, however, did top the list, go figure. Taxidermists were in at second place, which is understandable because stuffing anything to its former living glory seems a bit off. And lastly, sex shop owners, but maybe you’re just creeped out by them because they know what you’re into and now you feel judged.
While there are a bunch of perceived factors that could creep you out, it’s best to follow your instincts and stay on your guard.
And also, don’t watch people, they don’t like it.