Learning How to Deal with a Fear

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Johnson State College

12
Arachnophobia and Cognitive Behavior
Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
Stephanie Luce

Johnson State College

12
Arachnophobia and Cognitive Behavior
Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
Stephanie Luce

Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders and is one of the most common specific types of phobias. A phobia is defined as a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. Phobias are mainly and tend to be caused by a traumatic event or experience that happened prior in a person’s life. No one knows exactly where arachnophobia comes from but there are many different theories on how it has developed based on evolution but with some of those theories come discrepancies.

One of the most common theories was put forth by evolutionary psychologists. The view suggests that arachnophobia was a survival technique for our ancestors. Since most spiders are venomous, even though most do not pose a threat to humans, a fear of spiders could have made humans more likely to survive and reproduce. Other psychologists argue that arachnophobia is likely based on cultural beliefs about the nature of spiders since phobias of larger more dangerous animals are not common. It was once believed that spiders were the cause of the bubonic plague.  “In many areas of Europe, the spider appears to have been a suitable target for the displaced anxieties caused by these constant epidemics; in other cases, its proximity to the real causes of the epidemics may have fostered opportunistic associations between spiders and disease. These misplaced cultural fears have done little to ease human relationships with our eight-legged friends.” (Horner, 2009) Symptoms associated with arachnophobia include, excessive sweating, rapid breathing, dizziness and nausea, confusion and anarchy, shaking, dry mouth, irregular heartbeat and fear. Most people with arachnophobia will go to great lengths to make...
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