Arachnophobia Question

The Snark

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Background, a friend, a psychologist. Her daughter is studying psychology. Testing students at her college using an Electroencephalograph, EEC, on random student volunteers. Showing the test subjects assorted images, one images elicited a significant neuro response in one or two out of every 10 subjects. The image of a long spiders leg. Shown an animated graphic of the same image the persons who had a response initially had a stronger response and one or two additional test subjects had some response.

So the question I've been asked to ask is where is the origin of this response?
 

CritterFriendly

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I personally feel we humans as a whole have everything around us to program and instill that fear in us our whole lives growing up. Movies, and then horror stories from those we looked up to and saw everyone around us for the most part have a negative reaction and kill those poor spiders. Kind of like the old "monkey see, monkey do" metaphor going along side with the conditioning of being told they are bad from first being able to interact with the world as children.
 

Sterls

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Biologically, I think enough spider bites got infected throughout time that we evolved, obviously to a varying degree, to get spooked by them. And as @CritterFriendly just said, culturally we're generally taught how scary they are before we can even talk. While I don't have any data to say most people are arachnophobic, I feel it's pretty safe to say most people don't like them much, and that just gets passed on subconsciously to the kids.
 

Poonjab

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Humans are engrained to fear and respect big hairy things. Makes perfect sense the sight of a big hairy leg would make one quiver.
 

The Snark

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Please note. Only the image of the spider leg was shown. Not the entire spider. If this might make any difference.
 

schmiggle

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I would have thought that the leg is a stand-in for the spider for people with a reaction. How do reactions to a spider leg compare to reactions to a spider? What about reactions to a snake, or a tiger?
 

The Snark

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I would have thought that the leg is a stand-in for the spider for people with a reaction. How do reactions to a spider leg compare to reactions to a spider? What about reactions to a snake, or a tiger?
I'm not sure. They were very specific about just the leg. I'm sort of suddenly dropped into the middle of her investigation without any clues. No doubt there are a lot of other aspects and with them using the EEC it's my guess it's some series of specific recognitions. Shooting for making the needle on the graph jump the most? All guesswork on my part and they didn't fill in any blanks. Avoiding biasing the survey probably.
 

NYAN

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I have read research suggesting that there is innate response to fear things that can harm us, which leads to an aversion to them.

Besides that, it is definitely learned behavior to some degree.
 

The Snark

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(I've been asked to not quote the principle investigators messages here.)

Why a leg moving? They are using the EEC in pass analysis mode using the reverse procedure: throwing out the upper and lower 45% of the results. What is left is the most significant neuron responses. The methodology is simplified. Of all our senses, vision stimulates the most neurons. Objects in motion receive the most attention followed by high contrast colors. Essentially, the EEC provides far too much data so the study field is narrowed down to only the most significant. The basal and ceiling rules in a modified psychometric test.
 

RezonantVoid

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Okay without starting a big debate on beliefs, im personally one to believe in creation over evolution. My personal take on arachnophobia is we are designed with inbuilt safeguards to keep us protected when we are still young. For instance, 99% of us are scared of the dark as children, as it is a safety risk to us. But as we grow older, responsibility and social pressure kind of make this fear disappear over the years.

Arachnophobia is i believe something similar. Medical records show that spider venom has a far stronger effect on children than adults, so i think that fear of insects and arachnids is another safeguard that helps us to steer clear of any possible danger to ourselves at a young age. However, unlike a fear of the dark, the modern world rarely pushes responsibility or pressure on us to overcome this fear. As a result we are left with people morbidly phobic of them left right and centre
 

Edan bandoot

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Okay without starting a big debate on beliefs, im personally one to believe in creation over evolution. My personal take on arachnophobia is we are designed with inbuilt safeguards to keep us protected when we are still young. For instance, 99% of us are scared of the dark as children, as it is a safety risk to us. But as we grow older, responsibility and social pressure kind of make this fear disappear over the years.

Arachnophobia is i believe something similar. Medical records show that spider venom has a far stronger effect on children than adults, so i think that fear of insects and arachnids is another safeguard that helps us to steer clear of any possible danger to ourselves at a young age. However, unlike a fear of the dark, the modern world rarely pushes responsibility or pressure on us to overcome this fear. As a result we are left with people morbidly phobic of them left right and centre
Interesting that someone like you believes in creationism
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

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Okay without starting a big debate on beliefs, im personally one to believe in creation over evolution. My personal take on arachnophobia is we are designed with inbuilt safeguards to keep us protected when we are still young. For instance, 99% of us are scared of the dark as children, as it is a safety risk to us. But as we grow older, responsibility and social pressure kind of make this fear disappear over the years.

Arachnophobia is i believe something similar. Medical records show that spider venom has a far stronger effect on children than adults, so i think that fear of insects and arachnids is another safeguard that helps us to steer clear of any possible danger to ourselves at a young age. However, unlike a fear of the dark, the modern world rarely pushes responsibility or pressure on us to overcome this fear. As a result we are left with people morbidly phobic of them left right and centre
Children don't typically fear creepy-crawlies until adults teach them by reacting negatively to them.
 

RezonantVoid

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Children don't typically fear creepy-crawlies until adults teach them by reacting negatively to them.
That's definitely a huge factor in it for sure. But I have seen first hand alot of children horrified by inverts despite their parents actually trying to teach them otherwise.

I myself have always been fascinated by them from when I was a toddler, except for huntsmen spiders. For whatever reason, I've always been instinctively cautious around them despite knowing full well they are not dangerous
 

Blackbird

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Speaking as a former Arachnophobe, I can remember the specific day I learnt to fear spiders. While my parents encouraged me to learn more abput spiders, it was the response of other children my age that ultimately taught me to fear them. It was like a "click" in my brain, and BAM, Arachnophobia. In the same manner I've overcome the phobia by learning more about our spider friends and finding myself in communities where spiders are appreciated. My perception of them shifted, and now they are these adorable, beautiful, remarkably intelligent and ultimately misunderstood little critters, whereas before they were the spawn of satan. In this way I believe phobias are both by nature and nurture, and to some extent genetic as well.
 

Smotzer

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Be interesting to put one of us on here in that seat and watch us smile at the sight of a spider leg... Wonder what that would do to the data lol.
 

Jess S

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Please note. Only the image of the spider leg was shown. Not the entire spider. If this might make any difference.
Most people who are scared of spiders really find the legs the most scary thing.
 

darkness975

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Background, a friend, a psychologist. Her daughter is studying psychology. Testing students at her college using an Electroencephalograph, EEC, on random student volunteers. Showing the test subjects assorted images, one images elicited a significant neuro response in one or two out of every 10 subjects. The image of a long spiders leg. Shown an animated graphic of the same image the persons who had a response initially had a stronger response and one or two additional test subjects had some response.

So the question I've been asked to ask is where is the origin of this response?
Biology.
 

Arthroverts

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Okay without starting a big debate on beliefs, im personally one to believe in creation over evolution. My personal take on arachnophobia is we are designed with inbuilt safeguards to keep us protected when we are still young. For instance, 99% of us are scared of the dark as children, as it is a safety risk to us. But as we grow older, responsibility and social pressure kind of make this fear disappear over the years.

Arachnophobia is i believe something similar. Medical records show that spider venom has a far stronger effect on children than adults, so i think that fear of insects and arachnids is another safeguard that helps us to steer clear of any possible danger to ourselves at a young age. However, unlike a fear of the dark, the modern world rarely pushes responsibility or pressure on us to overcome this fear. As a result we are left with people morbidly phobic of them left right and centre
I agree with this. I would also add that in many instances I do feel the attitude towards spiders and invertebrates in general is oftentimes learned, especially in regards to small species; if you look at young children who are not raised in environments where fear of spiders is implied and/or impressed (you can easily pick them out at reptile shows), they tend to not be as afraid of spiders and other "bugs". Young children raised in environments like that also seem to show less fear, but as they age they seem to shift into being arachnophobes. However, as you pointed out Rezonant there is definitely a "nature" component to it as well; it's not all nurture. This is all from personal observations and is not necessarily backed up by any scientific studies.

Please note. Only the image of the spider leg was shown. Not the entire spider. If this might make any difference.
I don't know how much difference this makes. I'm assuming most people, upon recognizing what it was, would imagine a full spider and not just the leg.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

The Snark

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Just to mention, the responses on this thread have all been recorded and given due consideration. None have gone ignored. My input here is severely limited in that I'm forbidden to coach or comment.
 
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