Are You a Trypophobic? Stay Away From Holes

Quick!  What's trypophobia?  It's a fear you've probably never heard of.  It's being afraid of holes.

Granted, we all have our phobias.  I'm not too crazy about snakes, or being trapped between two cars waiting for the drive-up ATM, or even hair in the shower drain (ugh).

But fear of holes is a new one for me, and how you explain it, I'll leave up to medicaldaily.com.

"Although it has yet to be recognized formally in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), many scientists and psychologists maintain the clinical existence of trypophobia – a bizarre, visceral aversion to clusters of holes," the Web site reports.

In most cases, the fear circles around both natural and artificial objects, "including honeycombs, lotus seed pods, crumpets, and even coral structures."  Phobic stimuli can even cause migraines, panic attacks, hot sweats, and surges in heart rates in sufferers, facts medicaldaily.com attributes to LiveScience.

But studies have found that it may be "a widespread, predominantly latent phobia associated with an ancient threat."  Researchers think it may have something to do with a small group of rare, extremely venomous organisims, possibly including the blue-ringed octopus, "whose spotted camouflage structure is an eerie approximation of common trypophobic stimuli."

The Web site notes that, though biologically diverse, "These animals all conform to a very particular 'spatial frequency' – repetitive spatial features of their appearance.

"In this sense, the fear of clustered, irregular holes may be similar to the fear of things that crawl," medicaldaily.com points out. "Rather than maintaining a vast set of discrete aversions, we construct a single, general phobia from the set’s common abstraction. Thus, pomegranates and honeycombs may act as innocuous “placeholder threats,” keeping the ancient fear going in the modern-day paucity of blue-ringed octopi and deathstalker scorpions."

Too complicated for me, but the next time I meet a trypophobic for breakfast, I'll be sure not to serve him Cheerios.  


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