Why do people develop phobias of some animals and not others? One explanation you may be familiar with is that having a negative experience with an animal (such as a bite from a dog) conditions a person to be fearful of them in the future. To test this, Jakub Polák and colleagues asked participants whether they had experienced any traumatic animal-related events. Interestingly, fear ratings were lower for participants who had experienced a traumatic event, compared to those who had not.
One reason for the lower fear ratings may be that people who are scared of a specific animal may be unlikely to approach it in the first place, making it unlikely that they will have a traumatic experience with that animal.
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