Maybe men, who are forever being called into the kitchen to rid the room of spiders, may need to be a little more understanding with their female partners and should learn not to be too hard on them for their fear and phobia.
Researchers have recently discovered that women may actually be genetically pre-pre-programmed to instinctively be more afraid of our cute little arachnids than men.
Almost from birth, girls younger than a year old learn to associate images and illustrations of spiders as depicted with scary faces. A lot sooner, it would seem according to research, than boys of the same age.
According to these same researchers, during the course of human evolution women have become instinctively more aware and cautious about potentially dangerous or harmful animals. During further research into this theory the scientists showed ten boys and ten girls a colour picture of a spider paired with a scary cartoon character, whilst they sat on the lap of their parent. This test was designed to try and teach the children to be afraid of spiders. They also then showed them two alternative pairings. One was a spider alongside a smiley face and the other a flower next to a frightened face.
The results were surprising. The girls actually spent more time looking at the picture of the happy face than they did the frightened face, which researchers concluded is due to the fact that they ‘expected’ spiders to be associated with fear.
The girls were actually more distrustful of the smiley face as they instinctively associating the spider with the frightened face.
When the boys were tested in the exact same way, they were found to have looked at both sets of images for exactly the same length of time. Showing that the anxiety symptoms in children of both sexes did in fact differ.
The prognosis then was that the boys had no pre-conditioned response which would cause them to associate the spider with fear.
In conclusion the researchers summed up these experiments as showing that girls as young as 11 months have already learnt the relationship between a negative facial expression and a relevant frightening trigger (such as a spider or a snake), where as boys of the same age have not.
Based on these reactions it was summarised that because woman can only procreate a limited number of times when compared to men and that they are also in nature the primary carers for their offspring during their childhood, that evolution had provided a built in wariness, where venomous spiders or snakes etc are concerned. These may have been dangers that were faced millions of years ago, when searching for food and as the threat not only to themselves but also their offspring would have been immense, this sense of fear has been developed through evolution
In addition, where the men were concerned, there would have been less pressure on them to avoid these smaller threats. One because the women were the primary carers for the children, and two because of the risks they took every day when hunting for larger prey.
Statistics suggest that around six percent of the human population are afraid of snakes and that four percent have a phobia about spiders (arachnophobia). Researchers believe that based on those included in these figures that women are four times more likely to have a fear of phobia than men. Read the rest of this entry »