How does it make you feel when you look at this picture?
If you’ve never heard of the word “trypophobia,” here’s what it is: it’s the fear of clustered holes. Look at a photo of a lotus seed pod and if it frightens you or creeps you out, this could be because you are a trypophobic. Yes, there is such a thing as that. In fact, a research observed that up to 15% of people – more females than males –can be upset just by looking at bumps or holes.
STOP! You can bear this picture below because it’s blurred. Don’t scroll down unless you’re not prepared to see the real thing.
Do You Have Trypophobia?
Images, such as honeycombs, soap bubbles, blue-ringed octopus, puffer fish, poison dart frog, and even marbled cone snails can make a trypophobic’s skin crawl. According to a 2013 study published in Psychological Science, a person with this kind of condition may be able to feel or experience the following:
- Discomfort upon looking at asymmetrically or irregularly positioned holes
- Throwing up in the mouth
- Become shaky
- Become really upset, almost on the verge of crying
Some people do cry a little bit, although there are still researchers who doubt the existence of this condition. These critics say there is a need to look more into the so-called fear of holes. They believe it is not just about the holes and should not be labeled as “fear.” Therefore, it should not be called phobia or even recognized as such because the psychological community does not completely accept this kind of fear. In this case, it cannot be diagnosed as a real phobia.
More on Disgust
Also based on the critics’ reviews, trypophobia is more on disgust than fear. The feeling of disgust stems from the overgeneralization of a response to certain contaminants, as told by a researcher on this “fear” named Arnold Wilkins from the University of Essex. Additionally, the disgust is felt when clusters of objects appear – although it is not necessary that these objects have holes.
What really happens is, when someone looks at an image that he or she finds disgusting, the heart rate increases and changes, while the brain creates vision spikes. When these things occur, the person feels sick and often senses the need to look away or turn to something more pleasant to the eyes.
But not all scientists recognize the phobia and believe that it is actually an unconscious sense that something is dangerous. This is why most people find clustered holes on a puffer fish and blue-ringed octopus, for instance, to be revolting because these animals are poisonous.