Arach-nope-phobia: Why We Are So Afraid of Spiders?
Spiders are insanely creepy. Even if you personally aren’t afraid of them you cannot deny that their multiple eyes, eight legs, pinchers, and eerie way of moving is rather disturbing. There’s a reason they are used as common decorations for Halloween, their harrowing appearance and ability to create a spine-chilling response in most people make them the perfect additions to a macabre setting. Arachnophobia is even rated as one of the top 10 phobias in the world…but why do we find spiders SO creepy and disturbing?
Even as very young children, we pick up on various different cues from our parents and other adults in our lives. This is how we are able to learn and grow into our own individual person – these cues tell us how to act in social situations, what is food and what isn’t, what is good and bad, and generally how to conduct day to day life. But these cues become even more powerful when there are defined emotions attached to them, which is why witnessing your parent’s fear reaction to a creepy crawly critter may subconsciously instill the same emotion into you and, if this situation occurs more than once, it can easily become a conditioned reaction. Of course, as is the case in nearly anything with such an interaction, if you have a very negative experience with a spider in the past, that fear can stick with you can continue to haunt you. Say you were unlucky enough to be bit by a poisonous arachnid or you woke up one night only to find a large hair 8-legged demon crawling along your skin and making your blood curdle… then you will probably have an averse reaction to arachnids moving forward. However, recent studies suggest that these reasons might not always been the case.
In tests done with young children, it was found that the kids tended to have immediate negative reactions to being shown spiders, even without knowing what they were or having seen them before. Meanwhile, the same children were exposed to other creatures including bunnies to which they did not display any fear or disgust. This begs the question… could arachnophobia be an inherited fear? Are genes possibly at play? Or is this perhaps an inherited instinct of survival? Since various species of arachnids are poisonous, it stands to reason that we may have a built-in aversion to the creatures. Also, in the above-mentioned test it was discovered that children had the same reaction when shown snakes and, again, even though they were unaware of what they were, they reacted negatively towards the reptiles. This could mean that both the fear of spiders and fear of snakes are coded into us as a protective measure within our subconscious.
But no matter the reason, almost all of us can agree that we prefer spiders stay FAR away from us. And if you ever want or need extra protection in your home, we’ve got your back with year-round spider control services. Say sayonara to spiders!
Cherry, K. (2020) 10 of the Most Common Phobias , Very Well Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/most-common-phobias-4136563 (Accessed: July 2020). Why I’m Scared of Spiders (2014) YouTube. It’s Okay to Be Smart. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iOdUyXf3aw (Accessed: July 2020).