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Creepiness is the state of being creepy, or causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.[1] A person who exhibits creepy behaviour is called a creep. Certain traits or hobbies may make people seem creepy to others. The internet has been described as increasingly creepy.[2] Adam Kotsko has compared the modern conception of creepiness to the Freudian concept of unheimlich. The term has also been used to describe paranormal or supernatural phenomena.

History and studies[edit]

Clowns are thought by some as creepy

The concept of creepiness has only recently been formally addressed in social media marketing.[3] In the abstract the feeling of "creepiness" is subjective: for example some dolls have been described as creepy.[4] Part of the modern attribute of "creepiness" includes the feeling of social stalking and privacy invasions. For example, the practice of ride share service Uber monitoring the post-ride activity of its passengers has been described as creepy.[5] In 2017 the company announced that they would be ending this practice. An example of purported creepy behavior is that by the purity pledgers of the purity movement.[6]


A 2016 study by Francis McAndrew and Sara Koehnke from Knox College (Illinois) surveyed 1,342 people of all ages (1,029 females and 312 male) about what kind of traits the subjects found creepy if a friend was describing meeting someone new to them.[7] The study found that men were more likely to be seen as creepy than women. Females are more likely than males to perceive sexual threat from a creepy person. Unpredictability is an important component of creepiness. Also hobbies and occupations related to handling the dead, clowns, and bird watching were commonly thought as creepy. A post on Jezebel has said that there exists a blurriness and ill-defined difference between healthy forms of male sexual expression and being creepy.[8] The term creep is typically applied to unattractive people, a facet that has resulted in some analysts describing the term as cacophobic.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pages, The Society. "What is "creepiness"? - Sociological Images".
  2. ^ "The Age of Creepiness". The New Yorker.
  3. ^ Bikramjit Rishi, Subir Bandyopadhyay Contemporary Issues in Social Media Marketing 1317193989 2017 "In this chapter, we define creepiness and discuss how privacy and perceived creepiness differ. Then, we explain why creepiness matters and provide recommendations to minimize the negative effect of perceived creepiness on customer ..."
  4. ^ "What is 'Creepiness'?". 6 October 2015.
  5. ^ Ciaccia, Chris (29 August 2017). "Uber is getting rid of a creepy tracking feature in its app".
  6. ^ "Daddy I Do: "Purity" World is Tough for Women - Rewire.News".
  7. ^ MacDonald, Fiona. "Scientists Have Published The First Definitive Study of Creepiness".
  8. ^ Thorn, Clarisse. "Why Do We Demonize Men Who Are Honest About Their Sexual Needs?".
  9. ^ van der Meer, Job, et al. "Prevalence, demographic and clinical characteristics of body dysmorphic disorder among psychiatric outpatients with mood, anxiety or somatoform disorders." Nordic journal of psychiatry 66.4 (2012): 232-238