Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Blogs  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 

 Headlines:

 

Category: Pediatrics | Psychiatry | News

Back to Health News

Phobia Makes Spiders Appear Larger Than They Are: Study

Last Updated: February 24, 2012.

 

Warped perception of size of feared objects may foster avoidance

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
Warped perception of size of feared objects may foster avoidance.

FRIDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- People with an intense fear of spiders perceive the creatures to be larger than they actually are, a new study has found.

While a warped perception of spiders likely won't interfere with daily living, other types of phobias could prove debilitating or even harmful, according to the Ohio State University researchers.

For example, people who are afraid of needles and perceive them to be larger than they actually are may avoid shots and put their health at risk.

In this study, 57 people with a fear of spiders were asked to undergo five encounters with tarantulas and then estimate the size of the spiders. The more afraid participants were of spiders, the larger they estimated the spiders' sizes to be, according to the study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.

"If one is afraid of spiders, and by virtue of being afraid of spiders one tends to perceive spiders as bigger than they really are, that may feed the fear, foster that fear and make it difficult to overcome," lead author and professor of psychology Michael Vasey said in a university news release.

"When it comes to phobias, it's all about avoidance as a primary means of keeping oneself safe. As long as you avoid, you can't discover that you're wrong. And you're stuck. So to the extent that perceiving spiders as bigger than they really are fosters fear and avoidance, it then potentially is part of this cycle that feeds the phobia that leads to its persistence," he explained.

Learning more about how a phobia affects a person's perception of a feared object may help lead to more effective treatments for people who want to overcome their fears, the researchers said.

More information

The American Psychiatric Association has more about phobias.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Feb. 22, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: Kids From Poorer Families Drink Too Much Juice: Poll Next: Dieting Can Prove Dangerous for Kidney Disease Patients

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.