Why are so Many People so Afraid of Spiders?

When it comes to dangerous creatures of the world, spiders aren’t exactly at the top of the list of threats. Millions of people around the globe who are arachnophobic, however, believe quite a different truth. For them, spiders are one of the scariest and most dangerous living things they can ever encounter. When a tiny, tiny little spider enters a room, it’s not uncommon to see grown men jump up on a chair in fear. So what is the big deal? What is so frightening about spiders that make them one of the most feared and hated creatures on earth?

Dark and Creepy Arachnids

The inherent physical characteristics of spiders are some of the things that make many people fearful, some researchers say. According to them, we have a natural, internal fear of spiders that is partially based on their looks. Some features of spiders – in particular, their dark or black colors and their angular legs – are scary to us. Dark animals have a negative, dangerous connotation, and angular features are sharp and hard; people feel more comfortable with soft, rounded edges and shapes. Unfortunately for spiders, their dark color and lean legs have no bearing on their ferocity – they’re just the victims of bad looks.

Unpredictable Movements

The other main reason people are inherent, biologically-inclined to be afraid of spiders is that they move in very unpredictable patterns. Spiders are quick, change direction quickly, and often, some can jump, and it’s nearly impossible to determine when or where a spider will move just by looking at it in a resting state. Unpredictability, in general, can be dangerous to humans because if we’re unsure of what will happen, we don’t know how to protect ourselves. Once again, however, spiders’ unpredictable movements don’t mean they’re dangerous to humans – after all, have you seen how small they are?

Fear Conditioning

If you aren’t naturally afraid of spiders, you may be conditioned to be scared of them. As a young child, you don’t know what creatures are dangerous; you learn from the actions and teachings of the people who care for you.

If your mother or father is afraid of spiders, there’s a perfect chance you’ll learn to be scared of them, too, even though you’ve had no personal reason to mistrust them. It also doesn’t help matters that nowadays children are often playing inside when years ago they would have been digging in the dirt, exploring insects and spiders on their own. With no knowledge of or experience with spiders, you’re even more reliant on the attitudes of the people around you.

In reality, spiders are not as dangerous as many people think they are. Yes, some spiders can indeed deliver poisonous bites, but those spiders are very uncommon in comparison to several harmless spiders. If you can learn the difference in their looks (it’s often noticeable, like a red mark on their body), then you’ll equip yourself with the tools and knowledge you need to overcome your fear of spiders.

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