They have eight legs, like they spend winter on a ceiling, and the sight of them sends chills down the spines of many: we’re talking about spiders, of course. According to studies, approximately 2 to 6 percent of all people suffer from arachnophobia, that is, the fear of spiders. Many other people also experience some discomfort from animals. But why is this actually the case?
Some psychologists assume that the silent and unpredictable way spiders move contributes to the fact that some are afraid of them. However, others consider the fear of spiders to be a legacy of antiquity: since our ancestors wrestled with poisonous spiders, we still have a feeling of nausea when we see them. However, this thesis raises some difficulties. Researchers estimate that only about 0.5 percent of all spider species are dangerous to humans — and they don’t even live where early humans were in the home.
So a team led by Daniel Frenta from Charles University in the Czech Republic came up with a new theory: The fear of spiders can in fact be traced back to the fear of scorpions, whose physical structure shows some similarities to those of spiders, The team writes in the specialized journal Scientific Reports.
To test this assumption, the scientists presented a wide range of crawling and crawling animals to more than 300 test subjects, including different species of spider, scorpions, crickets, eared spores, grasshoppers, and beetles. Participants were asked to indicate on a seven-point scale how beautiful, disgusting and terrifying they found the animals.
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