Arachnophobia is known as an irrational, intense fear of spiders, and affects up to 18% of men and 50% of women. This fear can be so intense that some individuals are unable to even look at pictures of spiders. While this is one of the most common phobias, it can also be extremely irrational, being as humans are considerably more likely to kill a spider than the other way around.

Because arachnophobia is so common, much research has been done to uncover exactly why humans are so afraid of these common pests.

Ancient History

Why Are Humans Afraid of Spiders

It is believed that early in the stages of human evolution spiders may have posed some sort of serious threat to humans, and the fear may have been passed down through the ages. This becomes obvious in cases where children as young as three years old were shown pictures of cockroaches or spiders, and they were much more likely to pick out the spider pictures first.

Most theories that work to explain arachnophobia include some aspect of learned behavior along with some sort of innate tendency to fear these creepy crawly creatures.

Size Fear

For the average arachnophobe, spiders can look much bigger than they actually are. This was demonstrated in a study where those with intense fear of spiders were shown pictures of tarantulas of various sizes. They were then asked to estimate the size. The results showed that the more intense the fear, the more exaggerated the size. This perceptual distortion may only make the irrational fear worse for the average arachnophobe.

Increase Proximity

Similarly to how arachnophobes are likely to think spiders are bigger, they also feel that they are closer in proximity than they may actually be. During one study, arachnophobes were asked to watch videos of various sized spiders moving toward them and estimate when the spider would reach them. The more intense the fear, the faster they assumed the time to collision rate would be.

Spider Therapy

Some experts believe you can be cured of arachnophobia in one single session. During the therapy process, arachnophobes are slowly exposed to a tarantula and have their mistaken thoughts corrected during the process. Essentially, the body is trained to recognize the irrational fears and replace them with rational facts.

Home Spider Therapy

Arachnophobes that are frustrated with their fears can try a few simple home remedies to cure themselves of their fear:

  • Watching another person interact with a spider can help to lessen irrational fears.
  • Use exposure therapy, which allows you to slowly get closer and closer to a spider.
  • Talk out loud about your feelings in order to help dissipate them.

Arachnophobia comes in all different shapes and sizes, and ranges from an extreme fear to a completely debilitating experience.

Call the Experts in Spider Control

If you can’t stand the thought of spiders in your home, call the experts at Planet Orange today to learn more about how to get rid of spiders and keep your home free and safe.

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