Are arachnophobics more subceptible to toxical effects coming from spider toxins?

  • $\begingroup$ You would have to test a pair of identical twins to see. $\endgroup$ – Charlie Nov 7 '17 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Charlie ?? What is wrong about classical treatment groups? $\endgroup$ – Probably Nov 7 '17 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ How common are toxic - that is, with sufficient venom to pose a threat to humans - spiders? Especially ones that will bite humans? AFAIK they're common only in Australia & Latin America, extremely rare elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Nov 15 '17 at 4:17

This is an interesting question and may stem from the fact that spider phobias tend to run in families and thus have a genetic link - assuming susceptibility to toxin levels can be passed from parent to offspring. However, instead a study found that the fear of spiders was caused by social learning of disgust reactions.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201407/why-are-we-afraid-spiders

Directly from source:

In relation to the first question, it has been known for many years that spider phobia tends to run in families. It has often been assumed that this may represent a biological predisposition caused by the transmission of genes between parents and offspring. However, we found that this relationship was considerably more complex and indirect. We found that the only significant predictor of a child’s spider fear was not the level of spider fear in the parents, but their levels of disgust sensitivity. One interpretation of this finding is that spider fear may be transmitted within families as the result of social learning of the nature and intensity of disgust reactions–including disgust reactions to spiders.

Link to study abstract: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/000579679390041R

  • $\begingroup$ As it currently stands, your response does not properly answer the OPs question. The OP is asking whether or not there is a relationship between immunity levels of spider toxin with that of the behavioral response of being afraid of spiders. Your response though only addresses the cause(s) behind arachnophobia, which completely neglects the immunity aspect of the OP. If you can also address the toxin immunity element of the question, I will consider reversing my DV. $\endgroup$ – Charles Nov 13 '17 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Charles- Is the toxin immunity element not addressed by the author when he mentions that it was long assumed that there was a 'biological predisposition' which caused spider phobia to run in families before going on to conclude that fear of spiders is a result of social learning (behavior)? Unfortunately, the author does not go into detail of what he means by biological predisposition but wouldn't at least a portion of that include some type of increased susceptibility? I appreciate your response and would like to see a more definitive study directly relating immunity and behavior myself. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Nov 14 '17 at 0:17

There is no article related to this afirmation! Spider toxins are similar to all other toxins and the mechanism of immune system works to solve this problem is basicaly the same as others situations: produce antibodies.


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