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Try To Stare At This For 1 Minute
[Image: nelumbo_nucifera_fruit_-_botanic_garden_adelaide.jpg]

Does the lotus fruit image above make your skin crawl?

Up to 15% of people (18% of females and 11% of males) become viscerally upset after looking at images of clustered holes or bumps, according to research on the condition colloquially known as trypophobia. These clusters of holes are common in nature, for example: honeycombs or clusters of soap bubbles.
A 2013 paper in the journal Psychological Science quotes how one sufferer feels when facing a holy image: "[I] can't really face small, irregularly or asymmetrically placed holes, they make me like, throw up in my mouth, cry a little bit, and shake all over, deeply."
Though trypophobia is called a "fear of holes," the more researchers look into it the more they find it's not so much a fear, and not only of holes. The phobia isn't even recognized by the psychological community and is not, for most, a true phobia in the diagnosable sense.
"Trypophobia is more akin to disgust than to fear, and that the disgust is probably an overgeneralisation of a reaction to possible contaminants," trypophobia researcher Arnold Wilkins, of the University of Essex, told Tech Insider in an email. "The disgust arises from clusters of objects, and these objects are not necessarily holes, despite the name trypophobia."
When someone with trypophobia looks at these disgust-inducing images, their heart rate rises and becomes more variable, and activity in the part of their brain that processes vision spikes, the researchers said in an email to Tech Insider about research that has yet to be peer reviewed or published.
[Image: honey_comb.jpg]
Wilkins and his co-researcher Geoff Cole published the first study of trypophobia in 2013 with the theory that this strange revulsion could be rooted in biology, that we've evolved to fear these formations because when found in nature they are somehow dangerous.

To identify this effect, the researchers analyzed images found on trypophobia websites and images of holes that don't trigger trypophobia, looking for differences.

Then, when one of the self-reported trypophobics they interviewed mentioned a fear of the pattern on a blue-ringed octopus, they had what Cole has called a "bit of a Eureka moment," during which he realized a potential evolutionary reason for this fear of weirdly clustered holes — an association with a potentially poisonous or dangerous animal.

Here's the the blue-ringed octopus, which has venom powerful enough to kill a human:
[Image: hapalochlaena_lunulata2.jpg]
To test their theory that those feared formations are associated with danger, the researchers collected 10 images of the top 10 poisonous species to analyze. The species they selected included the box jellyfish, the Brazilian wandering spider, the deathstalker scorpion, the inland taipan snake, the king cobra snake, and the stonefish and a few more, shown below.

The puffer fish, whose liver and skin contain a poison, is highly toxic. It's the second-most poisonous vertebrate in the world:
[Image: puffer%20fish.jpg]

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