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Study reveals what makes a person creepy

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GALESBURG, Ill. -- A professor in Illinois has narrowed down the physical characteristics and lifestyle choices that may be considered the basic elements of creepiness, according to WQAD.

According to the dictionary, the definition of creepy is " strange or scary : causing people to feel nervous and afraid."

But the actual behaviors and qualities that make a person are a bit more defined.

Knox College psychology professor Frank McAndrew and student Sara Koehnke used an online survey to ask 1,300 people about what made a person creepy.

"Really what creepiness is all about is you're not sure if there's something to be afraid of or not," said McAndrew. "If you're talking to a person who isn't playing by the rules -- they're standing a little bit too close to you, their eye contact is way off, they're licking their lips, or they're laughing at all the wrong times, and they keep steering the conversation toward uncomfortable topics."

Here is a list of some of the creepiness factors:

The person stood too close to your friend
The person had greasy hair
The person had a peculiar smile
The person had bulging eyes
The person had long fingers
The person had unkempt hair
The person had very pale skin
The person had bags under his or her eyes
The person was dressed oddly
The person licked his or her lips frequently
The person was wearing dirty clothes
The person laughed at unpredictable times
The person made it nearly impossible for your friend to leave the
conversation without appearing rude
The person relentlessly steered the conversation toward one

The study correctly predicted that men were more likely than women to be considered creepy which McAndrew said nobody was surprised by.

The survey also asked people to rate the creepiness of various occupations. Clowns, taxidermists, sex shop owners, and funeral directors topped the list.

The most frequently mentioned hobbies that people thought of as creepy involved collecting things, like dolls, reptiles, insects or body parts. People also considered 'watching' hobbies, like bird watching or photography, creepy.

In the future, McAndrew would like to study what makes women creepy, and whether or not creepy people know they're being creepy.

You can find the complete study here.