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Why are so many afraid if spiders?

CircusMaximus
CircusMaximus Male
2 months ago
At what age do children feel that way and why?
Molly
Molly Female
2 months ago
It's the creepy way they move.
HotOrWot
HotOrWot Male
2 months ago
The children or the spiders LOLOL
lindy
lindy Female
2 months ago
I love them....and have a delightful picture of my granddaughter talking to a biggie. She's being brought up with a healthy understanding of nature, as I tried to do with my offspring.  It didn't come from my parents who bashed everything - spiders, flies, wasps etc.  I began to watch and learn and do respectfully ask those in my bedroom not to drop down while I sleep  ;-) 
sonofEasteregg
sonofEasteregg Male
2 months ago
are we going to be eating them along with the insects soon?
lindy
lindy Female
2 months ago
Easteregg

me thinks some already are....at night when they descend onto your pillow and crawl into your open mouth ................................ yum yum ;-)
Andromeda
Andromeda Female
2 months ago
It will be handy if your like a bit of leg.
wonderoushen
wonderoushen Female
2 months ago
Because they're horrible, I think many people are either afraid of spiders or snakes, a sort of primal thing.
G-O-W
G-O-W Female
2 months ago
I used to be, as a child.
My ar5e of a brother desensitised me by tormenting me.
If I die before him, I'm gonna get my own back!
I can pick them up now but prefer not to share my bath with them!
I do dry them out if they fall in. No, not with the hair dryer, on loo roll.
Nowadays they've taken to biting me, which isn't very nice of them.
Neros1954
Neros1954 Male
2 months ago
The young spiders can have sharp teeth but the older ones are often a bit gummy.
Samx
Samx Male
2 months ago
I have never been afraid of any animal, insect or invertebrate. In Asia bird spiders are being roasted and eaten. The small ones have little nutritious value. Spiders do a good job, reducing the overwhelming numbers of insects.
eurostar
eurostar Female
2 months ago
They are creepy crawlies,bit moths are worse
Hantslady
Hantslady Female
2 months ago
I have a big pet one comes out at night and hides in the daytime. He looks to be upside down just hanging there.  I am not a lover of spiders but dont have the heart to move him (or her) 
Hantslady
Hantslady Female
2 months ago
I have a big pet one comes out at night and hides in the daytime. He looks to be upside down just hanging there.  I am not a lover of spiders but dont have the heart to move him (or her) 
fosy
fosy Male
2 months ago
i dont know if anyone else has noticed how few there are running amok in the house compared to a few years ago, so far this year i have only had one medium sized spider take its chances.
HotOrWot
HotOrWot Male
2 months ago
I've mentioned this several times this year fosy. The usual spiders coming in the house this year hasn't happened. Mysteriously I haven't seen many flies either !
tsunamiwarrior
tsunamiwarrior Male
2 months ago
The fear of spiders is largely irrational and is driven by our emotions. Our brain is wired to be afraid of them because they were a threat to our ancestors. Today, we seldom encounter spiders and they are not a threat to us, but we still have this fear because it is ingrained in our DNA.

If the spider’s mere presence wasn’t enough, it has now eluded me. Great, now I have to burn down the entire house. For people who are afraid of spiders – arachnophobes – even the sight of a spider is petrifying, so living with one is out of the question. Who knows when the 8-legged creep would scamper across your face and traumatize you for the rest of your life?

Despite our intelligence and impeccable rationality, most human lives are largely driven by irrational urges, fear being one of them. This is because the most dominant part of our brain still thinks that it is living hundreds of thousands of years in the past, surviving the unforgiving, threat-ridden African savannah. A few fears were justified back then: the fear of death and thus the fear of predators: large, sharp-toothed or muscular animals, such as lions and tigers. However, a multiple-meter tall animal fearing an inch-wide creature is absurd, hysterical rather. Then why is it that so many people are afraid of spiders?

The emotion a spider elicits is not just fear, but a combination of fear, disgust and creepiness. Death in the savannah wasn’t just inflicted by large predators, but also diseases. Psychologists agree that we evolved to feel disgust or revulsion to prevent us from consuming or contacting things that might be a vehicle for diseases. This would include faeces, vomit, mucus and anything that shares their principal qualities, namely a foul odor, sliminess or stickiness.
However, while we are equipped to feel disgust, culture seems to be the sole arbiter of what we find disgusting. Insects or arachnids rarely exude bad smells, but a lot of them are sticky or found in “disgusting” environments, yet many Eastern cultures feast on them on a regular basis. On the other hand, fear of spiders (arachnids) or insects, in general, is widespread in Western cultures. Children have ranked spiders to be their greatest fear, above getting kidnapped and “the dark”.

The West’s fear and disgust of spiders can be traced back to the Middle Ages when Europeans believed that spiders were the cause of the Black Death (the actual perpetrator was later discovered to be the black rat). Water and food were deemed “corrupted” if spiders were found crawling in them. Homo sapiens are the only species on the entire planet who, unlike every other creature, don’t require genetic mutations and millions of years of adaption to alter their behaviour. External mutations in our cultures suffice.
tsunamiwarrior
tsunamiwarrior Male
2 months ago
Cultures alter behaviour by a process called social conditioning. Since the Black Death, many European children “learned” that they should be afraid of spiders after witnessing their parents scream in fear at the sight of one. Western descendants then developed an immense fear of spiders, whereas, Eastern descendants, whose parents never harboured such a fear, were indifferent to them. Recent research, however, indicates that the fear of spiders lurks much deeper than we think. .

The fear of spiders is largely irrational and is driven by our emotions. Our brain is wired to be afraid of them because they were a threat to our ancestors. Today, we seldom encounter spiders and they are not a threat to us, but we still have this fear because it is ingrained in our DNA.

If the spider’s mere presence wasn’t enough, it has now eluded me. Great, now I have to burn down the entire house. For people who are afraid of spiders – arachnophobes – even the sight of a spider is petrifying, so living with one is out of the question. Who knows when the 8-legged creep would scamper across your face and traumatize you for the rest of your life?
Despite our intelligence and impeccable rationality, most human lives are largely driven by irrational urges, fear being one of them. This is because the most dominant part of our brain still thinks that it is living hundreds of thousands of years in the past, surviving the unforgiving, threat-ridden African savannah. A few fears were justified back then: the fear of death and thus the fear of predators: large, sharp-toothed or muscular animals, such as lions and tigers. However, a multiple-meter tall animal fearing an inch-wide creature is absurd, hysterical rather. Then why is it that so many people are afraid of spiders?

The emotion a spider elicits is not just fear, but a combination of fear, disgust and creepiness. Death in the savannah wasn’t just inflicted by large predators, but also diseases. Psychologists agree that we evolved to feel disgust or revulsion to prevent us from consuming or contacting things that might be a vehicle for diseases. This would include feces, vomit, mucus and anything that shares their principal qualities, namely a foul odor, sliminess or stickiness.

However, while we are equipped to feel disgust, culture seems to be the sole arbiter of what we find disgusting. Insects or arachnids rarely exude bad smells, but a lot of them are sticky or found in “disgusting” environments, yet many Eastern cultures feast on them on a regular basis. On the other hand, fear of spiders (arachnids) or insects, in general, is widespread in Western cultures. Children have ranked spiders to be their greatest fear, above getting kidnapped and “the dark”.

The West’s fear and disgust of spiders can be traced back to the Middle Ages when Europeans believed that spiders were the cause of the Black Death (the actual perpetrator was later discovered to be the black rat). Water and food were deemed “corrupted” if spiders were found crawling in them. Homo sapiens are the only species on the entire planet who, unlike every other creature, don’t require genetic mutations and millions of y


Cultures alter behaviour by a process called social conditioning. Since the Black Death, many European children “learned” that they should be afraid of spiders after witnessing their parents scream in fear at the sight of one. Western descendants then developed an immense fear of spiders, whereas, Eastern descendants, whose parents never harboured such a fear, were indifferent to them. Recent research, however, indicates that the fear of spiders lurks much deeper than we think.


Hardwired to be Afraid
Another amusing instance where social conditioning dictates our beliefs is when we learn what content, on the television, for example, is inappropriate or obscene from the anger or shock it elicits in our parents. Christian parents would wince and writhe at the sight of their children listening to Black Sabbath or w
tsunamiwarrior
tsunamiwarrior Male
2 months ago
children listening to Black Sabbath or watching American Pie. The reaction would instill in those children the belief that debauchery is immoral and must therefore be avoided.

Conditioning obviously takes years to work its magic. Is arachnophobia therefore subject to time as well? If parents abruptly stop shuddering at the sight of spiders, would their children’s fears cease to develop? Would they grow up indifferent to spiders? Recent research suggests otherwise, arguing that some people are destined to be afraid of spiders, whether conditioned or not. We might be hardwired to be afraid of them.

To confirm this, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany showed six-month-old infants “fear-relevant” images of snakes and spiders and “fear-irrelevant” images of flowers. The researchers gauged their fear or stress with an infrared eye tracker, a device that measures the levels of norepinephrine, the secretion of which is triggered during our fight-or-flight response.

When our body experiences stress or fear, our pupils dilate, which enables our eyes to soak up as much information as possible. In response to the flowers, the infants’ pupils dilated 0.03mm, but in response to spiders and snakes, the dilation was 0.14mm! Remember that the children were too young to be conditioned. The study suggests that the fear of snakes and spiders is embedded in our DNA!

While today we seldom encounter spiders due to effective pest control, early humans or foragers were surrounded by them. Spiders were a threat because some spider species are venomous. Even if the bites weren’t fatal, they could make one ill for several days. Obviously, people who then feared and avoided them tended to outlive and procreate more than people who did not fear them and likely got bit by them. And fear, it has been continually shown in mice, is inheritable.

The faster the response, the safer the forager. People will immediately recognize spiders lurking in abstract or even deliberately distorted images flashed on a screen. What we perceive as gut-wrenching fear is actually a survival instinct, another undesirable part of what Neil deGrasse Tyson calls our “evolutionary baggage”.
wonderoushen
wonderoushen Female
2 months ago
We've had a few running about the house, I was brave a couple of days ago and got one with the spider catcher, but a couple of weeks before we'd had one almost to big for the spider catcher, Mummyhen had to be brave, even though she came out in goosepimples.
CircusMaximus
CircusMaximus Male
2 months ago
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany

They do a lot of interesting stuff
FBF_Peace
FBF_Peace Male
2 months ago
A riveting good read tsunami lol.
Neros1954
Neros1954 Male
2 months ago
I remember watching a film about arachnophobia which left me feeling better about touching spiders.
Minnie-the-Minx
Minnie-the-Minx Female
2 months ago
I suspect that for many people who claim to have a phobia about spiders, it is merely an affectation.  I think that the initial recoil response is fairly primaeval (i.e. instinctive and unreasoning) for most people, but a lot of the shrieking and drama is put on because it gets reward in the form of attention.
MrQuiet
MrQuiet Male
2 months ago
That would explain a lot Minnie.


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