Expert can discuss why people like to scare themselves during Halloween

JMU News

by Hannah Lynn Robinson


Lindsey Harvell-Bowman, professor of communication studies at James Madison University, is available to discuss the logic behind why people like to scare themselves with horror movies and haunted houses during Halloween yet avoid fear and risk at other times of the year. 

"We all are anxious about death, whether it is conscious or unconscious," says Harvell-Bowman. "Halloween gives us the opportunity to explore that anxiety in a fun manner that makes the idea of death not seem so frightening." 

She researches Terror Management Theory, a theory focusing on the psychological effects of thinking about death. She leads a terror management lab that is housed in the department of psychology that includes undergraduate and graduate students in SCOM at JMU.

Media contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808

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Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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