Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear


Lindsay Goodwin
Director of Special Exhibitions

What is Goose Bumps! all about?

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear is a 5,000 - 6,000 sq. ft. traveling exhibition that provides an experiential and holistic view of fear science, examining physiological, neurobiological, and sociological aspects of fear. Engaging activities in Goose Bumps! allow visitors to experience fear in a safe and enjoyable environment, rate their response, understand the science behind the emotion, and reflect upon its personal meaning. Goose Bumps! provides an immersive experience within several conceptual areas, each with a distinctive look and feel to reinforce its educational messages.

What kinds of things can you learn and do?

Get your heart pumping and your palms sweaty as you face some common fears in the Fear Challenge Course. The course includes:

  1. Fear of Animals – Reach inside an opaque box connected to terrariums filled with snakes and other creatures.
  2. Fear of Electric Shock – Feel your heart beat faster as you wait to receive a mild (and harmless) electric shock.
  3. Fear of Falling – Experience the innate fear of suddenly losing support, and see how fear registers on your face.
  4. Fear of Loud Noises – Get startled by a sudden loud noise and find out how the startle facial expression differs from that of fear.
  5. See which phobias hide behind strange names at the Phobia Wall and discover that we are capable of learning to fear almost anything.
  6. In Fear Lab you will meet Mr. Goose Bumps, a larger-than-life figure that illustrates how the brain and body work together in response to danger. Interactive experiences delve deeper into the brain systems and pathways activated by fear, and graphic panels profile scientists doing cutting-edge emotion research.
  7. Face of Fear explores the facial expressions of fear and other emotions which may be universal in humans, and interact with a cutting-edge software that can analyze and identify your facial expressions.
  8. Play full-body, child friendly games that depict the way fear helps animals survive in their natural environments in Fear in the Wild. Interactive exhibits and videos guide you through positive aspects of fear and help you draw parallels to your own life.
  9. Experience Social Fears where you’ll come face to face with a virtual crowd as you learn about the common fears of public speaking and other social situations.
  10. Catch a live demo focusing on the process of fear conditioning, and learn how scientists measure the fear response in the lab. Then view a brief documentary-style video addressing the role fear plays in entertainment, history and culture in the Fear Theater.
  11. Explore the way fears change over a lifetime and learn how to help children deal with their fears. Find out what happens when the fear system goes awry, and pick up some tips for combating stress in Coping with Fear.

What educational programs accompany this exhibit?

The exhibit offers other educational components such as Demonstration Carts and downloadable Teachers’ Guides, as well as a website where you can continue to learn about fear. The National Science Education Standards and California State Board of Education Science Content Standards informed the science content goals of the exhibit and all educational materials.

What does the exhibit package include?

  1. Complete interactive components, associated graphics and labels
  2. Exhibit supervisor for installation and dismantling
  3. Associated costs for exhibit supervisor (per diem, lodging, travel)
  4. Exhibit manual
  5. Exhibit press kit, logo and related marketing materials

Are there any additional costs?

Additional Costs: Inbound shipping (3 trucks), Insurance, and Security (medium level).

How long does Goose Bumps usually take to install and dismantle?

Installation and dismantling are 10 days each. This includes one supervisor who travels with the exhibit to oversee installation and dismantle.

Are there any special conditions?

Host institutions must provide and care for live animals.