Monday, November 3, 2014

Creepy crawlies and the science of fear

Tarantulas don't eat people and even try to avoid them. So chill out.

Why are we afraid of spiders, snakes and roaches? WXIA reporter Julie Wolfe explores that question through a new exhibit at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History called "Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear." Below is an excerpt from a report by Wolfe:

"It was my nightmare inside a glass box: A dozen cockroaches hissing and wiggling and waiting to crawl up my nose. Okay, maybe not that last part.

"When Emory Assistant Psychology Professor Seth Norrholm suggested I slip my hand into a box that may lead to that creepy, crawly nightmare, I hesitated. It's a response that was programmed into me stretching back to my caveman ancestors.

"All fears can fit into three categories: Innate fears, learned fears and preparatory fear.

"'An innate fear is something that you're born with, and it's a survival instinct type of fear,' Norrholm explained. Fear of animals and insects fall into that category. Among the most common fears: Spiders, cockroaches and snakes."

Watch a video of her report on the WXIA web site.

The psychology of screams
Psychologists closing in on claustrophobia
How fear skews our spatial perception
The anatomy of fear and memory formation

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