The fear of small holes isn't really a phobia

Alex Barrett
Monday 16 October 2017 15:30
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Picture:(Flickr/Caroline/Quinn Dombrowski)

Trypophobia is a fear of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes and lumps.

If the above image unnerves you, you may have it.

The name is currently only a proposed phobia, and is not recognised by American Psychiatric Association.

It was believed that the phobia was an evolutionary response, a reminder of the clusters and round bumps that can develop on human skin after an infection or when a parasite has burrowed under the skin.

However, a phobia is a learned response that cannot be unlearned.

Scientists have studied preschoolers to determine whether it's instinctive or its a learned phobia.

To determine this, they showed the children pictures of venomous animals with and without overlaid images of holes that would induce trypophobia symptoms.

Only the pictures with holes tended to upset the children, leading the researchers to believe it is an innate fear and not a learned association with poisonous animals - therefore not a phobia.

It doesn't mean the images with holes don't scare you or that you're faking the effects. It just means it's not a phobia.

HT Discover

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