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Science & Technology

Why do some people have a fear of holes ?

By T.K. Randall
July 13, 2017 · Comment icon 16 comments

Even the holes in a crumpet can cause distress. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Gordon Joly
Scientists have come up with a new theory to explain what causes trypophobia - the fear of small holes.
Anyone who suffers from trypophobia will typically experience feelings of disgust whenever they catch sight of any object filled with small holes, especially holes that are grouped in to clusters.

But how is it that some people have such an aversion to such a seemingly innocuous thing ? The answer, it turns out, may lie in our evolutionary response to danger.

One of the most common theories surrounding the phenomenon is that trypophobia relates to an innate fear of dangerous animals such as snakes, spiders and scorpions which sometimes have patterns on their bodies which resemble the holes that trypophobics are repulsed by.
Now though, a new study from the University of Kent has suggested that the true origins of this particular fear may lie in the way our body reacts to signs of an infectious disease.

The research involved showing two groups of volunteers, some trypophobic and some not, images of patients suffering from diseases with symptoms that triggered a trypophobic response.

"It's pretty well known that disgust helps us avoid infectious diseases and pathogens," said study author Tom Kupfer. "The response to these images appear to be a disease avoidance response."

Source: National Geographic | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by The Russian Hare 7 years ago
Wow I had never heard of this, let alone know of its wide spread.
Comment icon #8 Posted by WoIverine 7 years ago
There's this one in Turkmenistan:
Comment icon #9 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
Genetic memory is interesting and experiments with mice, for example, demonstrated certain introduced fears could be found in the next generation. So, perhaps we might be a little more grateful to some our ancestors who's learning by trial was translated to subsequent generations as a survival trait.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pbarosso 7 years ago
google surinam toad. ever since i saw one in a book when i was 7 or i have been sickened by the sight of them. google surinam toad seriously.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Almighty Evan 7 years ago
They'll come up with a catchy three-letter word for "trypophobia" and start marketing a drug for it that will only in rare cases cause death.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
I'm familiar with them pretty disgusting method of reproduction, from an anthropomorphic point of view.  Tiny holes don't bother me, the giant black hole of our national debt, now that's scary! 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Gary Meadows 7 years ago
Silly humans and their silly fears. Lol.
Comment icon #14 Posted by pbarosso 7 years ago
im still wondering when they will invent a drug to prevent people from being democrats and liberals. they can call it "realiprin" "dumbassitol"  
Comment icon #15 Posted by Almighty Evan 7 years ago
Sounds like a faux commercial SNL would play after the opening monologue.... oops, SNL doesn't do jokes against liberals.
Comment icon #16 Posted by pbarosso 7 years ago
they did once. once.

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