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 […]

Hitchcockian Fear-of-Heights Gaze Research

In the tradition of film director Alfred Hitchcock, these researchers watched the way fearful people watched their surroundings whilst walking in fear: “Visual Exploration during Locomotion Limited by Fear of Heights,” Günter Kugler, Doreen Huppert, Maria Eckl, Erich Schneider, Thomas Brandt [pictured here], PLoS ONE, 9(8), 2014, e105906. The authors, at the University of Munich and Brandenburg […]

Fear of flying (amongst pilots)

Although there are a good number of academic papers which examine ‘fear of flying’, [recent example] the number of scholarly dissertations which cover ‘fear of flying’ amongst a specific subset of air travellers – viz. pilots – is very low. Perhaps just one. May we recommend the work of aviation practitioner, aviation historian, aviation philosopher, […]

The scariness of spiders to people scared of spiders

Here is one way to measure people’s fear of spiders. Post flyers seeking individuals who are very afraid of spiders, and who are willing to be paid a small amount of cash to participate in a research project, said project turning out to be the repeated answering of survey questions before and during the following activities: 1 approaching […]

Research on kids’ indifference to, or fear of, Santa Claus

Professor John Trinkaus did several studies documenting the prevalence of indifference or fear among kids visiting Santa Claus in a shopping mall, we remind you. Professor Trinkaus was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize in literature for for meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about things that annoyed him (such as: What […]

Filling a Gap in our Knowledge of a Fear of Holes

This research paper is one of the first to make repeated use of the word “trypophobia”: “Fear of Holes,” Geoff G. Cole [pictured here] and Arnold J. Wilkins, Psychological Science, epub August 27, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Essex, UK, explain: “Phobias […]

Shy scientists: Fearing

This week’s episode of “Are Scientists The Shy Creatures of Legend?” offers a music video: “Fearing“, by Joseph LeDoux and The Amygdaloids. As will all episodes of “Are Scientists The Shy Creatures of Legend?“, the question posed to you is: Are these scientists shy? (Thanks to investigator Sergei Yellen for bringing this to our attention.)