• Robot

Robot (Photo : Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

A new study was done to find Americans' biggest fears among items such as snakes, government corruption, ghosts, running out of money, clowns, spying corporations, and death. One general finding of surveys was that Americans are more anxious about technology such as robots, computers, and the Internet than man-made disasters such as terrorist or nuclear attacks.

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The survey was conducted by Chapman University in California. It was its second yearly Survey of American Fears, and included around 1,500 adults nationwide.

Americans' top fear is governments and politicians who steal their money. A total 58 percent had anxiety about it.

In second place was the fear of cyberterrorism, with 44.8 percent saying they dreaded it. The No. 3 fear factor was corporations tracking people, with a total 44.6 percent.

The nationwide survey included ten classifications of fear, including Daily Life, Environment, Government, Technology, Crime, Natural Disasters, and Man-Made Disasters.

 Among the  fear "domains" man-made disasters earned the top average fear score. On the other hand, judgment of others garnered the lowest fear score.

Some interesting findings involved the fear of robots. About 24 percent feared them in general, and almost 29 percent fretted them being hired as new employees.    

The survey's results also highlighted the fear of fast-changing technology. One of the biggest issues was anxiety about tech that people do not understand.

A major change in this year's grouping of fears is that the "Animals" category was expanded. The new groupings, including the percentage of people who were afraid or very afraid of the critters were: snakes (33 percent), spiders  and insects (25 percent), and mammals (13 percent), according to Discover Magazine.

Christian Badar is a sociology professor at Chapman University. He explained that people's fears are greatly affected by headline news' issues, such as nuclear scares or government corruption, according to STGIST.

Badar explained that fears can actually help people to make wiser choices. However, sometimes fears can turn into phobias. For example, it could prevent someone with a high-level fear of Internet theft from investing in online companies such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

Last year Tesla CEO Elon Musk told students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that he fears artificial intelligence (AI). He called it humanity's biggest threat.

This video explains the difference between fears and phobias: