Friday, September 2, 2011

Survey shows people fear public speaking more than death and zombies

In April an online survey about fears was done, and then published in the June issue of Magic Numbers magazine. Between April 6th and April 8th they surveyed 4409 users of iPhone 4 (39%), iPhone 3G(31%), iPod Touch (18%) and iPad (12%). Their sample was mostly men (77%) with relatively few women (23%). They came mostly from Europe (63%), with about a third (31%) from North America, and only 6% from the rest of the world.

Results are shown above in a bar chart. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version). I have ranked the fears in decreasing order for women. The largest percent of them feared insects, followed by a tie between public speaking and heights or depths. Death or the dead came in third, followed by dentists or medical procedures. The largest percent of men feared heights or depths, followed by public speaking, insects, death or the dead, and dentists or medical procedures.

In that endlessly cited 1973 Bruskin survey, public speaking was fear #1 (40.6%), while death was #7 (18.7%). In the 1993 Bruskin-Goldring survey, speaking before a group was #1 (45%), while death was #5 (31%).

Adding the dead (presumably zombies, the walking dead) to the question raised its relative ranking versus public speaking. Bloodthirsty zombies have been getting more popular in films ever since the 1968 release of Night of the Living Dead.

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