Fear of Holes – Science on the Web #67

(haunting music) – Hey, Robert! – Hey! – I was thinking for
the next podcast episode what about seed pods? – Ew! (laughing) (electronic music) – [Robert] Sometimes the
internet is a place to meet and blow off steam about
life’s little irritations. And sometimes, it’s a clearinghouse for the phobias that be-devil us. Phobias that include the
sense that we are free falling into and infinite portal of doom. Beware, the hole menace! – [Female Host] Before
widespread use of the internet, little was known about Trypophobia, or the fear of holes. But once people banned together in their mutual hatred of the hole and formed a Facebook
page, an internet domain, and scads of videos on the topic, psychologists took notice. Especially when sufferers
described symptoms like nausea, of their
skin crawling, shuttering, and/or feeling as though
thy were going to fall head first into these gaping maws. – [Robert] These disgust-filled responses to the menacing gashes in cheese or seedpods with their
terrifying array of holes, made researchers wonder if
they could study the phenomenon in earnest and see if there
was really something to it. – [Female Host] In 2012, psychologists Geoff
Cole and Arnold Wilkins of the University of Essex in England combed over anecdotal accounts
of the most disturbing pits, cracks, dents, and voids and selected the most potent
image they could find; the dreaded lotus seed head,
with its cluster of holes. – [Robert] 286 adults, ages 18
to 55 were shown the images. 11 percent of the men and
18 percent of the women described the seed head as “uncomfortable” or even “repulsive” to look at. Which is about on par with
the level of repulsion found in other actual phobias. – [Female Host] Cole and Wilkins theorized that there was a mathematical
structure behind the pattern of holes, driving
trypophobics to distraction, and that this arrangement
was, in some cases, identical to the spectral
patterns found in species of dangerous or poisonous animals. – [Robert] So, sure, our
ancestors would be hard-wired to avoid poisonous plants and animals, but misattributing that anxiety to something as innocent as cheese is admittedly a long walk in logic. Another take, posited by William Skaggs writing for Scientific American, is that the phobia could
be a misattribution of germ and disease-ridden
sores on the human body. In other words, crusty
seed pods would remind us of highly contagious, weeping sores that we’d want to steer way clear of. – [Female Host] But perhaps
the most satisfying explanation is that social media made primus to assume the phobia for ourselves. According to Jennifer Abbasi
writing for Popular Science, “An element of so-called
emotional contagion seems to be at work on Facebook where some group members
say they didn’t realize they were trypophobic until they started reading others comments and clicking on the pictures.” – [Robert] The condition
is not yet recognized and listed in the American
Psychiatric Associations “Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders” and clearly, more studies in
peer view journals are needed. – [Female Host] But in the mean time, keep the delight you feel when the bubbles in
your pancake batter pop into gaping craters to yourself. Stash away your prized
collection of seed pods and don’t linger on potholes
in the road too long. – [Robert] So what about you? Do you feel a tinge of existential dread when you glimpse a cluster
of irregular holes? – [Female Host] And for
another flavor of holes, check out this video of
putting one in your head! And to keep the videos a-comin’ make sure to subscribe. (piano music)

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100 thoughts on “Fear of Holes – Science on the Web #67

  1. I remember when I was twelve while looking at encyclopedia I found a picture of a pregnant frog. It held its babies on it's underside in holes. I found it so repulsive and it gave me the willies ,I didn't know why. That was 55 years so no it's not something new.

  2. In my very own ''collection'' of phobias it seems that tryppophobia is not of them… I find the images amusing and fun XD

  3. 18 percent were uncomfortable?
    yeah sounds about right. 18 percent of the populace has to make a big deal out of nothing. out there (away from youtube ) there are people with real problems.

  4. I've ALWAYS been freaked out by clusters of holes. Now I kinda like it. They make my skin all crawly and tingly. Tingly satisfaction…

  5. Something as innocent as cheese? You mean the stinky, bacteria filled, fungus? Oh yeah, that's a real stretch…

    No, I didn't get this from social media. I've always had an uneasy feeling around stuff like wasp hives and honey combs. I wouldn't say I'm scared of it, just a strange feeling I used to get, even as a child, well before the internet.

  6. Yeah its always made my skin crawl even as a child. I would purposely ignore looking at leaves if it had caterpillar holes in them…ewww

  7. So why do some people like them instead of being repulsed? And maybe there are just as many people who are attracted to the sight of them as there are who are repulsed by them.

  8. I don't look at my pancakes before they are ready to flip or when eating them… the holes freak me out but they taste so good


  10. I don't get too affected by it but definitely find it gross. I'm guessing it's way more than 11 and 17%. More like 100%
    It's not a legacy for poisonous animals because that pattern isn't very off putting although the animal might use it as a sublte trigger for pause. It's definitely far more disgusting when it's on skin and more generally an infestation, wehther spider nest or maggot drilling. Corns and other skin problems merit the disgust. I remember from childhood being disgusted by the end of some citrus fruits which had a layering of shells with an opening. I instinctively wanted to cut it out so that layering wasn't there anymore. The side of the McLaren P1 car actually has a subtle trigger for that as well which is unfortunate in a car design.

  11. I guess for people who find it fascinating/satisfying/irritating or something it's like a very very mild level of fear/stress that just makes you slightly "excited" instead of stressed out or panicky. Kind of like watching horror movies for people who enjoy them just for the thrill.

  12. things like the food or even the seed pod don't freak me out it was just when u put those things on human beings freaks me out sores or things like that also don't freak me out its normal but putting that on a human is disgusting and inhuman just so u could freak someone out is absolutely outrageous

  13. I know it does not bother me at all when i see it i think they have this cool look about them other then that i'm not really bothered by it just don't think about it is all the more you think about it the more your mind makes it seam like it is something that it is not out to be

  14. It's so yucky looking to me certain holes make me inch not all like cheese beehive but when they put them on the skin photoshopped it really gets to me

  15. good god this makes me feel sick lol all of them. Since childhood, clusters of holes. Cannot look at them.

  16. This has always bothered me, especially if it's on skin. I get extremely itchy and uncomfortable. It's always been inexplicable until social media lol

  17. I think it's disgusting holes what they fear. It not like look a circle, look holes on cheese but holes on your face? Yea that disgusting

  18. That last reason about people just joining the bandwagon is complete bullshit. These images are gross and give me anxiety that I keep replaying the nasty fucking images in my head.

  19. so what is it called when it turns you on? and why does it affect me in the other way of fear?
    i never hear anything on the other side of the table about this.

  20. I often have nightmares that I am falling down a massive hole and I have spiderwebs all over my body. I am not consciously frightened of holes, but I do not like spiderwebs. Sometimes, I go to great lengths to make sure I do not accidentally put my hand into a Web. For example my anxiety is so bad about it, when it is the time of year where there are lots of spiders and webs about, I have to wrap a T-shirt around my hand to open the handle on my window so that I will not touch the spiderweb.I was told that when I was four, I accidentally fell down a manhole but I don’t know how far in i fell because I don’t consciously remember it, but I’m wondering if I had spiderwebs and spiders all over me and this is why I am frightened of them so much.

  21. I've always been horrified but small clusters of holes, and since long before the internet and Facebook existed. I remember as a young child feeling horrified by sponges and crumpets!

  22. i'm not tryptophobic. when i know that's fake on human flesh, i'm fine. but to see a wounded flesh, that's really disgusting me. i feel something's is crawling under my skin. i know now why I can't be a doctor. 😂

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