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Scientists discover 'fear of holes'


Posted on Monday, 9 September, 2013 | Comment icon 31 comments

Crumpets are a common trypophobic object. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Gordon Joly
A previously unrecognized phobia of objects filled with holes could be a human survival instinct.
A peculiar new phobia known as trypophobia has emerged following research by British scientists this week. The fear typically involves an irrational aversion to objects that are clustered with small holes such as crumpets or even bubbly chocolate bars.

Having mostly gone unrecognized as a phobia until now, researchers surprisingly discovered that as much as 16% of the population could suffer at least some aversion to holes. The study was led by Geoff Cole from the University of Essex who discovered that he too suffered from this affliction after being shown a coin with holes drilled through it when he was at school. "I felt a bit nauseous and had to sit down," he said.

Cole believes that the phobia could be a natural survival instinct because objects of this nature share several of the visual characteristics of poisonous animals. "When a trypophobic individual looks at an image, there's a part of their brain - an old evolutionary part of their brain - that's trying to tell them, 'Be careful,'" he said.

Source: The Star | Comments (31)

Tags: Phobia

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #22 Posted by joz48 on 6 October, 2013, 12:16
when it's just one hole i am ok but when it's a ''whole lot of holes''......well
Comment icon #23 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 6 October, 2013, 12:52
I can't believe people get paid for this,how does this help mankind move forward? Surely that's what scientists should be looking to do It's impossible to predict what area of research is going to help mankind. Some of the great discoveries in history were made accidentally while trying to discover something else
Comment icon #24 Posted by bLu3 de 3n3rgy on 6 October, 2013, 21:32
No wonder no-one likes those damn Aero Chocolates. Lol if their marketing department knew about this research, watch them suddenly lose the air holes and become solid. I have to say i don't have this phobia but the airy holes in chocolate i don't like the texture of in my mouth, so maybe it is signalling that old prehistoric instinct somewhere. Same reason i couldn't stand custard as a kid, or thick milk shakes, the lumpy holey textures made me feel so repulsed there was a lot i wouldn't eat.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Professor T on 7 October, 2013, 7:10
To be honest, it's the fact that I'm paying for the so-called pleasure of air holes instead of solid chocolate that put's me off. What a rip off.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Avallaine on 8 October, 2013, 2:24
I've been interested in this for a few weeks now, since I ran across the term on an unrelated web site. I seem to have a mild form of trypophilia. I sort of like looking at the things that freak trypophobics out...though it could be more of a "morbid fascination," as there's a strange sense that I could become phobic with just a little push in some way. A more frequently-encountered theory in trypophobia articles is that clusters of holes are similar to symptoms of biological infestations, which would also be a good evolutionary reason to develop an aversion to them...
Comment icon #27 Posted by SkepticalB on 8 October, 2013, 2:50
I'm afraid of large holes in front of me when walking that I didn't notice before. ...so close, right?
Comment icon #28 Posted by Sundew on 12 October, 2013, 21:59
To be honest, it's the fact that I'm paying for the so-called pleasure of air holes instead of solid chocolate that put's me off. What a rip off. I'm afraid that as our dollar loses its value, you will see more of this: smaller products for the same price as original size or increased price on original size of item, more filler, whether air, water, etcetera. I buy Dial soap and about two years ago the normally flat rectangular bars of soap now have a concave saddle shape on one size. I'm not sure if the price stayed the same but I wouldn't be shocked. As for fear of holes I live not too far fr... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by donktheclown on 2 November, 2013, 19:50
What the heck is a crumpet?
Comment icon #30 Posted by SkepticalB on 2 November, 2013, 22:36
like a scone i believe
Comment icon #31 Posted by kapow53 on 15 November, 2013, 1:19
I like holes, don't really care for cheese but like Swiss, sink holes great places to swim and see weird fish. Big hole in the bread and lots of em means active yeast. I do admit some holes are scary like a hole in your boat or head.


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