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Itsy Bitsy Spider? It Depends…

Authors
  • Leibovich, Tali1, 2, 3
  • Cohen, Noga3, 4
  • Henik, Avishai1, 4
  • 1 Department of Cognitive Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva , (Israel)
  • 2 Numerical Cognition Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Brain and Mind Institute, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON , (Canada)
  • 3 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 4 Department of Psychology, Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva , (Israel)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers for Young Minds
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Dec 22, 2016
Volume
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/frym.2016.00029
Source
Frontiers
Disciplines
  • Neuroscience
  • New Discovery
License
Green

Abstract

You have probably heard it before. “The bug was huge!” (said your friend who is afraid of bugs), or “The needle was so big!” (said another friend who is afraid of shots). Can such statements be more than just figures of speech? We asked if fear could change the way people estimate size. To answer that question, we asked people who were afraid of spiders, and people who were not, to estimate the size of pictures of spiders and other animals. We also asked how unpleasant each picture was to look at. People who were afraid of spiders estimated spider size to be larger than did people who were not afraid of spiders. This result shows that our emotions can affect the way we evaluate the size of things around us. In other words, each of us experiences the world in our own special way.

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