The social learning account of trypophobia

Cole, Geoff, G., Millett, Abbie and Juanchich, Marie, M, G. (2024) The social learning account of trypophobia. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

Trypophobia is the condition in which individuals report a range of negative emotions when viewing clusters of small holes. Since the phenomenon was first described in the peer-reviewed literature a decade ago, 47 papers have appeared together with hundreds of news articles. There has also been much discussion on various internet forums, including medical and health-related websites. In the present article, we examine the degree to which the phenomenon is caused by a form of social learning, specifically, its ubiquitous social media presence. We also examined its prevalence amongst the broad population. In Experiment 1 (n=2558) we assessed whether younger people and females, (i.e., greater social media users), are more sensitive to trypophobic stimuli, as predicted by the social media hypothesis. In Experiment 2 (n=283) we examined whether sensitivity to trypophobic stimuli and rates of trypophobia is greater in people who are aware of the condition’s existence, as opposed to those who have never heard of the phenomenon. In line with the social media theory, results showed that younger people and females are indeed more susceptible to trypophobia. However, 24% of trypophobic individuals have never heard of the condition. Overall, these data suggest that both social learning and non-social learning contributes to trypophobia. We also find that prevalence of trypophobia is approximately 10%.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: trypophobia, condition, trypophobic stimuli, the social media hypothesis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2023 10:09
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2024 12:26
URI: https://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3504

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