An Insect Photographer Who Is Scared of Insects

Louise Downham interviews someone who, despite and because of his fear of insects, now specializes in photographing them. The interview is in Fstoppers, a publication for readers who purchase photographic equipment. The interview begins: Terrified of creepy crawlies he may be, but Mofeed Abu-Shalwa has committed his career to photographing and researching tiny creatures. I […]

Entomologists Who Are Scared of Spiders [Ig Informal Lecture]

Here is the Ig Informal Lecture by the winner of the 2020 Ig Nobel Entomology Prize. The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, then THINK. In the Ig Informal Lectures, some days after the ceremony, the new Ig Nobel Prize winners attempt to explain what they did, and why they did it. [In non-pandemic years, […]

Seeing Spider/Antman Movies Lessen Fear of Bugs?

What power over the minds of humans lurks in bug-human-hybrid superhero movies? One study, at least, asks that question. The study is: ” ‘Spidey Can’: Preliminary Evidence Showing Arachnophobia Symptom Reduction Due to Superhero Movie Exposure,” Yaakov S.G. Hoffman, Shani Pitcho-Prelorentzos, Lia Ring, and Menachem Ben-Ezra, Frontiers in Psychiatry, epub 2019. The authors, at Bar-Ilan […]

Scary animals : a new classification [study]

Scary animals, a new study reveals, can be separated into five distinct clusters : “(1) non‐slimy invertebrates; (2) snakes; (3) mice, rats, and bats; (4) human endo‐ and exoparasites (intestinal helminths and louse); and (5) farm/pet animals. However, only snakes, spiders, and parasites evoke intense fear and disgust in the non‐clinical population.” The diagram below […]

The physiological underpinnings of aversion to images of clusters of holes (new study)

When you look at the photo above, perhaps you see : 1) A delicious-looking much-loved chocolate bar renowned for its unique bubbly texture. or 2) A nightmarish and disgusting depiction of tightly clustered holes. If your reaction leans more towards the latter, it’s possible that you are suffering from trypophobia. Which is (currently being) defined […]

Towards robotic goosebumps

“Although there have been many researches on artificial haptic-sensory skin and discussions of materials for facial expression, we can find few trials related to expressions on surface of robots.” Explain a research team from Dr. Tomoko Yonezawa’s lab at Kansai University Osaka, Japan, prompting them to become one of the first teams  worldwide (perhaps the first) […]

Virtual cockroaches alleviate fear of cockroaches

Not many people with a fear of, say, cockroaches, would be happy to let a few of them roam across their bare hands (in order to alleviate their fears by habituation). In other words: “Although in vivo exposure is the treatment of choice for specific phobias, some acceptability problems have been associated with it.” In […]

Mr. Sparks’ predator-intimidating walking stick (new patent)

“Disclosed herein is an apparatus for deterring predators, which may be used as a walking stick until a predator is encountered. Upon encountering a predator, the apparatus allows a user to rapidly deploy a collapsible rigid structure from the interior of the hollow walking stick, which supports a membrane, or set of membranes, that display […]