Dr. Margee Kerr will present a free lecture titled: The Upside of Fear: How and Why We Enjoy Thrills and Chills

Kerr studies the science of fear and why humans enjoy scaring themselves; think of zip-lining, skiing double black diamond trails, visiting a haunted house, or watching a horror film. Kerr will present the Collegiate Peaks Forum Series Lecture “The Upside of Fear: How and Why We Enjoy Thrills and Chills” at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. It will be held in the KW Room of the Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center. There will be an opportunity for questions and refreshments will be served. The Colorado Mountain College Leadville campus is located at 901 S. Hwy 24.

Dr. Kerr is a sociologist who studies fear and the creative ways humans engage with thrilling and scary material. She asks, “Ever wonder why we fear what we do? Or why so many of us love the thrill of a roller-coaster or jumping off a steep cliff? Well I have, and I’ve made it my goal to find the answers.”

Dr. Kerr holds a BA from Hollins University and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and Ursinus College. Kerr is an authority and consultant on professional haunted house attractions and her research laboratory, an immersive, interactive theater experience with “high impact scares” called The Basement, is within Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse, ranked by the Travel Channel as one America’s scariest haunted house attractions. Her research on the willing subjects at the Basement demonstrate that being scared can activate neurotransmitters, induce relaxation, encourage bonding with other people, and reduce anxiety. Kerr suggests that those who want to learn more about the Basement read an October 2015 article on the Jezebel website.

Dr. Kerr published her book, Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear in 2015. The book includes chapters on physical thrills such as the “stomach drop” and acrophobia, psychological fears of haunted places and the dark, and real, existential fears of death and danger. Kerr has explored these fears “from the inside out” by visiting haunted houses, riding the world’s scariest roller-coaster, spending the night in an abandoned prison, visiting Japan’s Aokigahara Suicide Forest, and participating in an EdgeWalk at the top of Toronto’s CN Tower. Washington Post reviewer Carlos Lozada wrote that “Scream may not haunt you outright, but it stays with you, mainly by showing how the scariest place in the world is inside your own head.” Kerr also writes for her own blog and a column entitled “The Science of Scares” for the Daily Dead, a horror and entertainment industry website.

Please join us for this enlightening, free lecture! The Collegiate Peaks Forum Series, in its 15th year, is a free lecture series with presentations in Leadville, Buena Vista, and Salida. For more information about the CPFS, visit www.collegiatepeaksforum.org.

This lecture by Dr. Margee Kerr is co-sponsored by Colorado Mountain College in Leadville.