Fear can distort our perceptions, psychological research indicates, and creepy-crawly spiders are no different. People who are afraid of spiders see the arachnids as bigger than they actually are, recent experiments have shown.
Researchers asked people who had undergone therapy to address their fear of spiders to draw a line representing the length of a tarantula they had just encountered in a lab setting.
“On average, the most fearful were drawing lines about 50 percent longer than the least fearful,” said Michael Vasey, lead study researcher and professor of psychology at Ohio State University. “We have seen participants draw lines that are at least three times as long as the actual spider.”
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