A Research Study On Phobias

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The topic I chose to research is phobias. A phobia is considered an anxiety disorder in which a person has an irrational or extreme fear of something. There are two types of phobias: specific phobias, which is a fear of certain objects or situations and social phobias, where people feel threatened in social situations. I decided to research a specific phobia, spiders. The article I found was published in 2015 and aims to explain the difference in “Perception, evaluation and visuomotor processing of ambiguous schematic stimuli between spider-fearful and control participants,” (Haberkamp & Schmidt, 2015). Researchers used two series of photos, with seven pictures in each series. Each of the seven pictures morphed from a flower-like image to a spider-like image as the series advanced. A group of spider-fearing participants and the control group, that consisted of participants who were not fearful of spiders, were exposed to the photo series. Researchers recorded each participant’s perception of similarity between a spider versus similarity to a flower. They also noted the level of emotion, disgust and arousal they felt as they looked at each variation in the series. This experimental yielded experimental data about reaction times and perceived images for the control group and the group with a fear of spiders. With the use of the gathered experimental data, researchers were able to make several conclusions about those with a fear a spiders and those without.
The researchers had a very extensive method in order to get the best results for their experiment. First, they collected 19 participants from the University of Kaiserslautern. Then, the participants were asked to described themselves as highly fearful of spiders or not. From ...

... middle of paper ... time when they identified the photo to look like a spider.
The discussion section summarized the researchers findings. It explained that those in control group felt less emotions toward the picture changes and were able to distinguish from a flower and a spider more accurately. The spider-fearing participants were more disgusted, aroused and felt more negatively. They also recognized a majority of the photos as spiders rather than flowers. Their reaction times to the photos was much quicker, but often they were inaccurate and they assumed most of the pictures were spiders even though it was made to look more like a flower.
This was an informational and interesting article on the specific phobia of spiders. I hope to pursue clinical and counseling psychology in the future and I assume I will have to perform experiments like this one as I work toward my degree.
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