What are you scared of? Now that Halloween is behind us, we can have a discussion about what truly terrifies you, and I am not speaking about ghosts and all other monsters that go "bump in the night". I am talking about actual fears. Things out here in the real world that make you want to hide under your bed and never come out.
If you think you are alone in your phobia, you are probably wrong. Here are the 10 most common phobias experienced by the average person.
1. Being enclosed in a small space.
Also known as claustrophobia, 43% of people say they are at least a little scared of being trapped in a small space over a period of time. This is the opposite of the fear of heights (to which we will get to later), where people overestimate just how far up they are. With claustrophobia, you underestimate how much space you have around you.
2. Needles, getting your shots.
24% of people say that they are at least a little afraid of getting a needle, and you can count me in with them. This fear is also called trypanophobia, and it wasn't even recognized as such until 1994. They really have no idea what can cause this particular phobia to rear its head, but some think it might have something to do with genetics.
A whopping 52% of people say that they are afraid of snakes at some level. Considering that the majority of snakes are completely harmless, it is somewhat surprising that this is the second most common fear of humans. It has been suggested that this is hardwired into humans when they are born, as opposed to something that is learned over time. Considering most people never see anything more dangerous than your common garter snake, there may be something to this theory.
4. Large Crowds.
There are a number of different phobias that are related to being scared of large crowds, or being trapped in one, agoraphobia is the most common. 21% of people say they are at least a little scared of being around large crowds. This phobia can be so severe that it will even stop some people from leaving their homes. Panic attacks are the most common symptom of this particular fear.
Musophobia is the sixth most common fear among human beings, with 26% of people being at least a little afraid when they come across either a rat or a mouse. Very little research has been done into this area, but some theorize that it is a conditioned response to being startled, or that there is a subconscious knowledge that mice and rats can carry disease.
6. Public Speaking.
Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking is the third most common phobia among the general population. 56% of people admit to being at least a little afraid of doing this. Realistically it is quite intimidating. Standing in front of a crowd of people you know, let alone strangers, leaves you vulnerable and up for judgement. This is one fear that can be conquered though, it takes practice and patience.
7. Flying on an airplane.
Coming in at number 8 of the 10 most common fears, 24% of people are at least a little afraid to set foot on an airplane. Known as aviophobia or aerophobia, this doesn't have much to do with heights, but rather the lack of control you have over the situation, and the potential for a crash landing. Stress is likely the greatest cause for this fear, and things like turbulence can greatly increase a person's level of stress while up in the air.
The fear of clowns is not yet recognized as an official phobia (I don't understand why, those guys are creepy as all hell), but some still refer to it as coulrophobia. 12% of people admit to being at least a little afraid of those painted weirdos, which I think is a low-ball number at least based on the number of people in my life who don't like clowns. Some researchers believe that it has something to do with the fact that a clown is almost always smiling, making some people very uneasy.
We have all heard of arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. 42% of people admit to being at least a little afraid of spiders. Common though, who hasn't been creeped out at least once in their life by those 8 legged little freaks quietly scuttling about their business? Some researchers believe that it has something to do with the way a spider moves, while others think there is also a genetic component to it.
A crazy 58% of people say that they are scared of heights on some level, making this the most common fear on earth. And it seems that this fear gets heightened the older we get. Acrophobia seems to be from a person's inability to judge distance and vertical dimensions. Personally, being terrified of being too high off the ground, I think it is just a gut reaction to the fact that the higher you get, the further you can fall.
What do you think? Does you fear fall on this list?