Turns Out Trypophobia Isn’t Actually A Phobia

by : UNILAD on : 17 Oct 2017 17:30

If the above image scares you then; A) we’re really sorry and B) you may suffer from something called ‘trypophobia’.


However, scientists have determined trypophobia isn’t even a real phobia.

For those of you unfamiliar with trypophobia, it’s a proposed phobia of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps – which means you’re going to have a hard time eating crumpets for breakfast.

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It’s believed the phobia developed as an evolutionary reaction, a reminder of the clusters and round bumps which can develop on human skin after an infection or if a parasite has burrowed under the skin, report The Independent.


The name is currently only a proposed phobia and is not recognised by the American Psychiatric Association.

Psychologists at the University of Kent believe the phobia may actually be a heightened aversion to parasites and infectious diseases.


To test this theory and to determine the legitimacy of trypophobia, scientists carried out a study on preschoolers to find out whether it is instinctive or a learned phobia.

Children were shown pictures of venomous animals with and without overlaid images of holes – which is meant to trigger typical symptoms of trypophobia.

They found the images with the holes disturbed their young subjects much more frequently – this lead researchers concluding it’s an innate fear and not a learned association with venomous species – therefore, not a phobia.

In the past it was thought clusters of round shapes, (aka small holes), reminded people of poisonous predators such as spiders and scorpions.


Three months prior to the latest study, Tom Kupfer, who led a team at Kent’s School of Psychology, carried out the same exact research.

However he carried out his tests on 600 university students – half of which claimed to have been suffering from ‘trypophobia’.

It yielded the same results and in a post-study interview the with those claiming to be suffering from the condition, they found they were more akin to sickness than to fear or fearfulness.

However despite trypophobia not being recognised as a legitimate phobia, the point might be moot when you’re trying convince someone it’s safe to eat their sponge cake – they may just die out out of fear!

I’ve got to admit – it would be a pretty weak way to leave Earth.

Topics: Health


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    The fear of small holes isn't really a phobia