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  • I'm scared of spiders. Not afraid to admit it.

  • I like pictures of them, but not at all a fan of the 3D version.

  • That's because when I was 17, I got bitten by one of these, and since then my policy is strictly arachNOPE.

  • Keep at least three feet between me and any spider, and if I walk through a web I'm gonna be like...

  • Out of 50,000 or so known spider species, there's only a couple dozen on Earth that have venom that could hurt me.

  • Now, I'm a rational guy, but I've got a case of irrational fear.

  • And I'm not alone. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 40% of phobias have to do with things like insects, snakes, and mice, andspiders.

  • Now some of us don't care for those eight-legged terrors thanks to a phenomenon called conditioning.

  • And I'm not talking about the kind that has to do with soft, silky hair, but because of a past traumatic experience thatugh.

  • Studies show that many people don't even have to have encountered a spider before to be afraid of them,

  • and the arachnid aversion is heritable, so there might be genetics at play.

  • And even if they don't fear them, children are able to pick out images of spiders and snakes faster than images of non-threatening animals, like bunnies.

  • We must have evolved some sort of built-in creepy-crawly detection system for strange slithery movements, or a few too many legs. A spidey sense for spideys.

  • That's just the kind of thing that might have kept our ancestors safe from possibly deadly encounters. Or just kept them from walking through spider webs and looking like idiots.

  • And then, there's roaches. Those slimy, stinky, speedy little drawer demons.

  • I like to consider myself a pretty tough guy, but some of these things have wings, man! That's not even fair!

  • Now the jittery way that they sprint across the wall is the same kind of non-standard movement that triggers our creepiness alarm,

  • and their slimy, stinky nature triggers our disgust response, which is the instinct that drives us away from things like spoiled food, vomit, or feces, and other disease-ridden stuff.

  • But again, some of our roach fear might be due to conditioning,

  • seeing our parents jump at the sight of them at a young age, when our brains are soaking up cues from other people on how to interpret the world.

  • Spiders and roaches aren't going anywhere, and we know they are here to stay, so we'd better get used to them.

  • Luckily, scientists say there might be a way to reduce our fear by exposing our brains to it over and over.

  • Happy Halloween!

  • Where is it? Get it off!

  • Ebola is a big deal, and it should be taken very seriously.

  • But the most frightening adversary is the one that we don't understand.

  • As science writer David Kwan wrote: "Ebola is no death angelit's just a virus."

I'm scared of spiders. Not afraid to admit it.

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B1 US spider fear slimy screaming stinky conditioning

Why I'm Scared of Spiders

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/02/17
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