Most people I know are not happy to see a spider at home, but I knew a lot who are really afraid of them!
A UK study that involved 261 adults showed that nearly 32% of women and 18% of men in the group felt anxious, nervous or extremely frightened when confronted with a spider(real or images).
Therefore, numerous scientists have studied this fear and explain it in various ways. Some experts believe it is a result of evolutionary selection.
This means that Arachnophobia is an evolutionary response, as spiders, especially the venomous ones, have always been linked to infections and disease. They, therefore, maintain that the fear of spiders triggers a “disgust response”.
Also, a study of the University of Maastricht indicates that something called “spider trauma” could be at the root of arachnophobia. It is a scary, spider-related event that conditions an individual to fear arachnids. This traumatic event usually occurred during childhood and may even be forgotten by the person, but the fear of spiders persists.
On the other hand, Tim Sexton, Manager at the Attenborough Nature Centre in Nottingham, England, claims that spider phobias are entirely unfounded, but they are also often passed on from parents to offspring.
According to Sexton, we learn this irrational fear at a very early age.
“We see our parents being scared about spiders and it’s something we learn from them.”
Alan Manevitz, MD, clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, partly agrees but adds that we also fear spiders from direct experience, TV, biology, science, as we know they can be poisonous and bite.
“Therefore, when we see a spider near us, a natural response is to feel fear and avoid the spider.”
Dr. Manevitz adds that the fear of spiders (arachnophobia) is one of the most common phobias in the United States. Yet, as spiders can appear anywhere and anytime, this means a constant tension and stress.
Numerous people who are afraid of spiders miss out on important opportunities in life like traveling to foreign destinations, holidays, and walks in nature. In serious arachnophobia cases, this fear can limit and disrupt life to a high extent.
Yet, if you are one of these, you should know that of the 63,000 species of spiders found around the world, only 2% present actual danger.
Therefore, Sexton advises changing the attitude. He adds that spiders play a wonderful role in our natural environment, being “nature’s very own pest control service.”
Spiders are not cute or cuddly, but Sexton claims they deserve love too.
“They could be a nice pet for you, so give it a name, learn to love it and enjoy watching it in your home.”
So, what do you think about turning the scary spider in the corner into your pet?