Fear of snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlers is so universal that most of us probably believe we must have been born with it. It’s universal, so it must be innate.
Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, yet many people have never seen a snake in person. So how is this fear generated?
New research suggests humans have evolved an innate tendency to sense snakes — and spiders, too — and to learn to fear them.
Psychologists found that both adults and children could detect images of snakes among a variety of non-threatening objects more quickly than they could pinpoint frogs, flowers or caterpillars. The researchers think this ability helped humans survive in the wild.