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Why So Many People Are Scared of Spiders

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Arachnophobia is common in the US and most of the West, where perhaps 18% of men and 50% of women suffer from a disproportionate fear of spiders. But why is this so? Why should we be so afraid of spiders?

Unappealing Shapes and Movements

One explanation given for why we are afraid of spiders is that they just have an unattractive combination of traits. Psychologists analyzing this phenomenon point out that when asked why they fear spiders, people often cite two characteristics: legginess and erratic movements. These two characteristics cause us a significant amount of unease. Their legginess gives them an angular appearance, which is contrary to the sense most of us have that attractive objects should be curvy. On the other hand, the erratic movements of spiders make us uncertain where they are going, which also contributes to unease.

Evolutionary Bias

Other scientists have proposed that we are conditioned by evolution to be afraid of spiders. They say that there were a number of highly venomous spiders with venom dangerous to humans in our environment during our period of early evolution. This would have given a major evolutionary advantage to people who were disproportionately afraid of spiders.

This opinion recently received strong support from a study showing that people identify the shape of spiders faster than other feared objects, showing that this fear may be more deeply ingrained in our psyche than other fears.

A Learned Fear

On the other hand, it’s likely that this is something we learned from our parents and caregivers. Children learn dangers from watching how their elders respond to different animals and circumstances. It’s likely that, whatever the root cause, arachnophobia continues because our parents were afraid of spiders.

Of course, if you’re really afraid of spiders, the main thing that matters is getting rid of them. If you want to get rid of spiders in your home anywhere along the Front Range, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist today. We help people from Fort Collins to Castle Rock, including Denver and Boulder.


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