Does A Fear Of Something Make It Bigger In Your Head?

How scary are these jumping spiders with eight eyes?

(Telegraph) Fear of spiders makes you believe creepy crawlies are bigger

11:05AM GMT 23 Feb 2012

The more you fear a spider the bigger it will appear to be, according to new research.

A study of arachnophobes found the worse their condition the larger they estimated the creepy crawlie’s size.

The irrational fear of spiders is believed to affect as many as half of women and girls, and up to one in six males.

And the latest findings explain why many sufferers hold out their arms shrieking “it was that big” when the reality of the situation turns out to be much less scary.

A better grasp of how a phobia affects perception of feared objects can help doctors design more effective remedies, the Journal of Anxiety Disorders reports.

Psychologist Professor Michael Vasey, of Ohio State University, said: “If one is afraid of spiders, and by virtue of being afraid of spiders one tends to perceive spiders as bigger than they really are, that may feed the fear, foster that fear, and make it difficult to overcome.”

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