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People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learned du

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    There's a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new article reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly.

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    Use this thread to discuss the article above. What are your thoughts about People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learned during infancy?
     
  2. puzzlebean

    puzzlebean Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    I am terrified of spiders...but I know that it is because I saw Arachnophobia as a kid and my 3 older brothers tortured me with spiders growing up!

    Good read, thanks for sharing!
     
  3. YellowOctopus

    YellowOctopus Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    Hm. I wonder if the photos of snakes and arachnids were taken with lighting, focus, angles, etc. similar to those of the flowers and everything else. Kids pick up on how photos are taken pretty easily, and could confound their study if it isn't taken into account.
     
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    So true, its definitely something that is learned!

    I remember as a child loving to collect lots of living things that I found, my mother was the one who would scare me more for picking them up. When my daughter was little she would fill he pockets full of thing, bugs, slugs, frog, salamanders, snails, anything she would find. I would literally have to empty her pockets every time she came in the house, I would let her keep them in her many bug containers outside. The odd time she would sneak them in and forget about them and I would find a margarine tub with a shrivelled up salamander. Eventually she understood to catch, admire and then release.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  5. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    LOL MLD, my sister and I were the same way, there were always frogs in the bath tub and when our mother outlawed them, they werte kept in the garbage can LOL I can still hear her screaming when she opened the lid and a huge bullfrog jumped out at her LOL

    My sisters"pets" were earthworms that she would keep in her pants pockets, mom loved wash day!!!
     
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    My mother still jokes about it now, well should I say makes fun of me for that.
    My doll carriage was one of those old ones from the 1960's, huge metal ones that kind of looked like the cars of the 50's & 60's. Not a doll ever was in it. but it say lots of frogs, pollywogs, snakes, and toads!
     
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    One of my friends got me a shirt for Christmas that says

    "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself and SPIDERS." Whenever I wear it, I get a lot of comments on it.

    I was a rabid arachnophobe when I was younger - the tiniest spider would make me scream like a person getting chopped to bits! I can't tell you how many times my mom came charging up the stairs thinking a serial killer had snuck into the house! Only to find some harmless spider the size of a speck of dust all the way across the room.

    I don't know where I learned it from - while nobody in my family likes spiders, there are no arachnophobes from which I could have learned the behavior (contrary, I come from a long and distinguished line of ophidiophobes, half of whom I almost killed when I played practical jokes involving fake snakes at family reunions.)

    I spent some time in the library studying them, learning everything I could about them, in order to dispel my fear. The final stem for me was working as the curator of the invert collection at the zoo, and holding a Giant Vinegaroon (Mastigoproctus giganteus) in my hand.

    Now I want to get a tarantula and a whip scorpion - Who would ever have thought!
     
  8. Anthony14

    Anthony14 Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    I was never afraid of snakes, I saw through the falsehood in hollywood films ever since I was little because I had caught snakes before and knew they were nothing to dread. Spiders were iffy, when they would appear I wouldn't enjoy their company but I wouldn't scream and alert the whole neighbourhood like my sister and mother did. However now I have been looking into getting a Mexican Red Knee tarantula and Emperor Scorpion.

    Two of my friends are ophiodiophobes, I can show them my Ball Python a million times and they still think it's a bloodthirsty killer and they run off. Same goes for my Grandma. Also, I'd honestly say 1/2 girls at my school would be Ophiodiophobes as we had a reptile guy come in to our highschool a year back and he brought out a python and so many girls had to keep like a 20 foot distance and just make remarks on how scary, evil and slimy it was. Snakes have such a bad reputation. :c
     
  9. Katsura

    Katsura Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    I completely believe it and am a living testimony of the truth of it. I had a terrible mother who let me watch scary movies as a child, and let's say that when you're 4 years old, movies such as "Arachnophobia", "Twister", and "Poltergeist" aren't the best choices. Some of those movies are pretty lame by today's standards, they were terrifying to toddler-me.

    I've gotten over my fear of storms, though bad ones still make me panic. I was terrified of the dark until I think 13 or 14, and spiders still scare me. Just the other week I had a spider living in my hair. I was unaware of it until I got in the shower and got out the shampoo... When I looked down at my chest and was greeted by the mangled corpse of a spider........

    Though some movies are SOOO ridiculous that sometimes I can't help but wonder why people actually believe this stuff... Syfy is notorious for making those kind of "scary" movies.. Oh no, a "Piranhanaconda"!!! I mean I watched a bit of "Snakes on a Plane" and it was just stupid. And the movie "Python" had me in tears, gasping for breath..

    And to be honest it's really sad that people buy into these kind of movies. My mom asked me the other day if a ball python could kill and eat a cat....

    I've always loved reptiles, though. So cuddly!
     
  10. brooksy

    brooksy Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    I too collected frogs, grasshoppers (which now freak me out since as a child I wouldnt let my mom release them and they all cannibalized each other and it grossed me out) and earthworms. Both my sister and I, to this day never intentionally kill a spider, but catch and release them (I now "pretect" my significant other since he is terrified of spiders).
    When I was a toddler I happily held a boa constritor with the experts helping of course but since I had, had no interestion with them since I had a mild nervousness about them build up. The first time I help one as an adult was when I got my own snakes. And I held my first ball python on the weekend even though I had already paid for my 2 ball pythons who are being fully established right now. This weekend I fell in love with how holding a ball python feels over my colubrids, whom I love but are quicker and less "cuddly".
    This weekend I also had my friend who has tons of ball pythons get over her fear of taratulas by holding one and she is now letting her son get one. I love helping people thru their fears.
     
  11. snakevenom

    snakevenom Well-Known Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    as much as i love the movie snakes on a plane i agree completely
     
  12. lopez82

    lopez82 Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    Iremember one time id gotten home from school, i think i was in 8th grade my mother and sister were outside looking like someone was murdered inside when i asked what was wrong they said There's a huge snake inside! So i look in through the dor and it was a gopher snake that couldntve been more than a foot and a half. So i walked outside holding and they wouldnt come near me. One off my favorite memories...
     
  13. skelly98

    skelly98 Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    hm. my parents never really cared if i was holding a snake. and when i wanted to get some as pets, the only rule was no venomous.

    i agree, it is a learned behavior.
     
  14. ralderfer001

    ralderfer001 Active Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    its definite;y a ;earned behavior, my mother and and grandmother are absolutly terrified of spiders, which made me terrified of them, it wasn't til recently that I moved to california and saw a black widow on the side of my house, I caught her in a jar, and took care of her, from then on my fear turned to fascination, anything learned can be un-learned.
     
  15. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE animals of all kinds. Reptiles as well. My 13 year old step daughter is the exception in my house. Which, goes to prove this theory. SHe is the ONLY kid in the house that hasn't grown up with reptiles. My 6 year old has his own bearded dragon, he also had one when he was only a year and a half that he HAND FED. My 3 year old loves holding all our pets... it is DEFININTELY a learned behavior. When I was about 3 my grandparents owned a tarancula, this lil dude slept in my hair in the crook of my neck. At one point someone in my family owned a snake a ball I think, and I held that just fine. When I turned 4-5 I moved families and they didnt have ANY kind of reptiles... just your standard dog or rabbit. I became PETRIFIED of spiders and snakes when I got bit by what I thought was a spider at the time. Years later found out it was a scorpion. I ended up in the hospital for over a week. I have been so scared of spiders that I will have a straight up panic attack. For the last 5 years or so I have calmed down quite a bit. I will kill my own spiders or bugs that intrude where they shouldnt be... Now I am to the point that as long as the spider isn't in my bed or on my person I will even let it live. I know they are crucial to the environment and all. I am going to ReptiCon in october and plan to face this fear head on an hold a tarancula. I am also purchasing a snake this weekend or at the expo. I know knowlege and exposure is the only real way to gain a healthy respect for these gorgeous creatures.
     
  16. casey15

    casey15 Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    Thats an interesting article. People are born with 2 fears, loud unexpected noises, and fear of falling/heights. It's interesting that snakes/spiders are a learned fear. It reminds me of a song called "You've got to be taught to hate." it's not about reptiles but it's about how kids grow up learning to fear things from their parents.
     
  17. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone who is "afraid" of cockroaches has the exact same inane story about waking up to a cockroach running across their face?

    I feel quite alone in my love of cockroaches. Sure, I farm some to feed to my reptiles and tarantulas... but I already keep two species in smaller colonies just as PETS...

    No kidding. Over-protective/controlling parenting is one major bane of western society. Children are literally growing up learning to be afraid of everything and think about nothing. I was victim of over-protective and controlling parents - I'm glad I "woke up" and decided to explore the world and I discovered my passion. Unfortunately that took me 25 years. Many young adults are not so lucky and spend the rest of their lives in a depressed, uninspired, authority-worshipping fog.

    It is far easier to fear and hate than to understand.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  18. makdawg917

    makdawg917 Elite Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    It is amazing what one can do with the mind of a child, whether creating or getting rid of fears. I wish that members of my family had never acted like spiders were scary, because I probably wouldnt be as bad around them as I am now :/ My boyfriend and I have agreed that if we have children, they are getting a stuffed spider and snake and they will be taught that no animals like that should really be feared!
     
  19. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learne

    I learned to fear spiders as a kid because of experience - we were camping, and a family friend of ours pointed out a cool-looking spider that was hanging out on the RV tire. The spider suddenly jumped at her and landed on her hand, where it bit her. She didn't think much of it, but started feeling sick about an hour later and had to go to the hospital. Apparently, this was a highly venomous type and she needed treatment. I don't think my parents recognized the severity of my fear, because ever since then, I had been convinced that all spiders are capable and willing to bite and/or venomous.

    Movies only reinforced that fear.

    But just as this behavior can be learned, I've been slowly teaching myself to unlearn this fear as I know it's unfounded. Yes, my experience and movies/entertainment teaches you to be cautious around unfamiliar species, but we do that anyway be it around strange dogs, snakes, people, etc. Like it was said, it's easier to fear than to understand. Hearing stories from people who own different species like cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, etc. is great in teaching you all about the care involved and the positives about species you'd normally wouldn't encounter or think of owning. It teaches you that they can be real pets, with real personalities and that they aren't out on a vendetta to harm anyone. They are simply being what nature intended them to be. Treat them with respect, and then you'll have nothing to fear. As for me - I've been doing my research, and one day hope to have a tarantula of my own. :)
     

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