We feelings of dread. The victim has no

We are probably all
very familiar with the word “phobia,” but
exactly what are they? The definition for phobia is “an
abnormal or morbid fear or aversion” (“Oxford” 655). In
other words phobias are an extreme
fear or anxiety provoked by a particular object or situation even when there is
no danger. People have had some fears since the beginning of the human race; they
have found different and unusual things frightening. Actually, these fears
affect people starting from their childhood, because people don’t understand
the difference between unreal things and real things when they are children.

Usually these situations can lead people to have some fears, which are called

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who have phobias may find themselves in a constant state of anguish about
whether they could come into contact with the thing or place that they’re
scared of. The symptoms of having a phobia are usually separated in two
different groups (physical and psychological symptoms). The most common
symptoms you may experience when having a phobia are: panic attacks, nausea,
rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), headaches and confusion or disorientation, being
the physical ones. The most recurrent psychological symptoms are: fear of
fainting, losing control and also feelings of dread. The victim has no
voluntary control over the anxiety reaction, which may seem exaggerated but
actually isn’t.


It is
unusual for a phobia to start after the age of 30 years; most begin during
early childhood, the teenage years, or early adulthood. A stressful experience,
a frightening event can cause them. They are also habitually linked to a negative childhood experience.

However, they also say that phobias are learned behaviours. This may
come from when a child sees a parent or someone they trust has a phobia
and start to have the same irrational fear. Maybe something happened when the
victim was just a child so a parent or household could have reacted badly
without necessarily having the phobia, so from that event the child could have
‘learned’ and started having the phobia.


There are
three primary types of phobias- specific phobias, social phobias, and
agoraphobia. Lets start with specific phobias, which are the most popular ones.

This type of phobia is related to something specific; such as an object, animal
or insect, people, situation or environment. Examples of specific phobias are:
claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces), acrophobia (fear of heights),
entomophobia (fear of insects) and nyctophobia (fear of night or darkness). According
to The National Institute of Mental Health specific phobias affect an
approximate of 6.3 million adult Americans. Now talking about social phobias.

These involve a constant terror of public humiliation, self-consciousness and of
being the centre of attention. People who suffer of social phobias often try to
avoid social situations and may become disturbed or uncomfortable with company
of unknown people. Those, who have been solitary or antisocial as children or
have a history of negative social experiences in childhood, are more likely to
develop this disorder. “Life is just one gut-wrenching anxiety problem after another,” says Ph.D. Thomas Richards. Now
changing to agoraphobia. This phobia is becoming more common now a days and
it’s the fear of leaving home or a familiar comfort zone.


A very popular experiment was The “Little
Albert” experiment. It was a famous psychology experiment
conducted by behaviourist John B.

Watson and graduate student Rosalie Rayner. Watson wanted to show
that emotional reactions could be classically conditioned in people. The
participant in the experiment was a child known popularly today as Little
Albert. Around the age of 9 months, Watson and Rayner exposed the child to a
series of incentives including a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey, masks, and
burning newspapers and observed the boy’s reactions. Little Albert initially
showed no fear of any of the objects he was shown. The next time Albert was
exposed to the rat, Watson made a loud noise by hitting a metal pipe with
a hammer. Naturally, the child began to cry after hearing the loud noise. After
repeatedly pairing the white rat with the loud noise, Albert began to cry
simply after seeing the rat. After the experiment Watson and Rayner wrote, “The instant the rat was shown, the baby began to cry. Almost
instantly he turned sharply to the left, fell over on his left side, raised
himself on all fours and began to crawl away so rapidly that he was caught with
difficulty before reaching the edge of the table.”