Creepy animals are the ones that cause a person to react in a "fight or flight" pattern. Of course, because we each are wired
differently and come from a different set of experiences
, we each will have a different set of creepy animals.
Some animals are almost universally
creepy though. Spiders
, for instance. Research has found that there is a part of the optical lobe of the brain
which recognizes a round object with eight projections and reacts to it by notifying the ARAS (ascending reticular activating system) to do a fight-or-flight reaction
before our brains can even cognitively recognize
the spider. This direct-wiring exists in some people but not in others.
A similar connection
exists for snake-type objects. I remember my cat
being terrified of a coil of chain that we kept in our garage for a while. The cat KNEW it wasn't a snake, but whenever we set it down near the chain it leapt
at least 4 feet into the air. The cat itself was probably wondering why it did that.
, we can modify the immediate
reaction, or find ways to deal
with it. I have somehow learned not to jump
every time I see a spider (I only do it about 10% of the time now). There are a bunch of methods developed by psychologists
to help people become comfortable with their creepy animals.
The one method I would not
recommend is "Immersion
Therapy". They experimented with this at my University by putting people in a small
room and then dumping severy thousand spiders on them from an opening in the ceiling. One guy died of a heart attack. It was NOT good therapy.
A better method, I think, is desensitization
. This approach helps a person slowly
get closer to the frightening animal, until they are finally able to sit comfortably
with the animal in close proximity
or even touching it. It is designed to go slowly, so that undue stress
is not placed on the client.