Overcoming the fear of spiders using a smartphone app?

Many people either hate spiders or actually fear them. This is really understandable when you consider that some eight-legged arthropods can also bite fatally. Few people know the difference between poisonous and harmless spiders. This is amazing overwhelming mental stateKnown as Arachnophobia or Arachnophobia, it can present a real challenge to an estimated five percent of sufferers. Now a research team from the University of Basel has found a potential antidote to this with a mobile app.

How virtual reality can fight the fear of spiders

Scientists have developed a smartphone program that uses augmented reality (AR) to help people with arachnophobia overcome their struggles. However, the app is designed for those with a mild and clinically insignificant fear of spiders. Mostly it concerns teenage girls or young women. The new app called Phobys displays a 3D spider model on real images that the user sees through their smartphone as a form of exposure therapy. This is a cognitive behavioral therapy that works against diseases by gradually introducing the feared object. The published study results indicate that the test subjects were less afraid of spiders than those in the control group. With the help of augmented reality, the application displays the image of a spider on everything that is viewed through the smartphone camera. This enables the person with arachnophobia to gradually confront their fear in a safe and controlled manner.

According to the study authors, it is easier for people with arachnophobia to encounter a virtual spider than it is for a real spider. The researchers tested the app in a two-week clinical study on 66 study participants. Some of those used the app in six half-hour training sessions, while the control group did not. At the end of the experiment, the researchers asked all the subjects to look at a live spider in a transparent box to see how they reacted. Results this study showed that repeated use of smartphone-based and autonomous augmented reality exposure at home was effective in reducing the fear of the phobic spider. Phobys can be downloaded from the iPhone and Android app stores. At $5 to open, the app offers ten levels of therapy to help you beat anxiety.

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