On February 6th, 2016 the Kalamazoo Valley Museum opened their newest exhibit, Goose Bumps: The Science Of Fear. The exhibit was founded by the California Science Center, showing kids and adults the three aspects of fear: physiological, neurobiological, and sociological.
“It’s all about fear, so it’s analyzing fear and feeling like why fear can be a good thing, and why it’s good to have fear,” said Kalamazoo Valley Museum employee Jessica Zwalua.
Physiological fear is basically your fight or flight response: stay and fight, or run from your fear. Neurobiological fear includes the use of your amygdala, a part of the brain that controls your emotions, including fear and anxiety. Finally, sociological fear includes your emotions, how you feel when you are scared, whether you feel anxious, nervous, afraid or other types of emotions.
The exhibit includes sticking your hand inside a covered box with different types of bugs, testing your anxiety before getting a small and harmless shock, getting jump-scares from a loud noise and experiencing the feeling of falling backwards while you are strapped onto a board that falls back at the press of a button.
“The third one was for the fear of falling. So you got in this contraption and then you fell backwards, but once I got in there, it wasn’t working. So I had to get out and get back in and get out and, was like, that just made my fear worse because I’m actually really terrified of falling, so it was really fun. It was interesting I really liked it so I would go again,” said senior Kaila Starks, who visited the exhibit with a few of her friends.
The exhibit also features a fun little game where you try to collect fruit without being seen by a lioness by moving carefully and slowly so that she does not detect your presence.
“There was this game there and it was kinda fun. It was just like a screen and you had to walk past and there was fruit falling and you had to catch it. Gotta make sure the cheetah didn’t turn around and see you,” said Starks.
Live demonstrations and videos explaining how fear works in the brain and body are also included in the exhibit. If you enjoy testing your fears in a fun and safe way with friends or family and learning how fear works throughout the body, this exhibit may be one you enjoy.
“They’re [the public] very interested in looking at different fears. Some of them, especially the different types of phobias, […] they find it weird that we have, like, fear of knees and fear of gold,” said Zwalua.
The exhibit is open through May 8th and is free to the public. Everyone is welcome to come and face their fears. Museum hours are nine a.m. to five p.m. Monday through Saturday, and one to five p.m. on Sunday’s.