UVA study: Humans skeezed out by snakes

UVA study: Humans skeezed out by snakes

Yes, it’s true: People are scared of snakes. Or maybe we’re focusing on the negative. This from two researchers in the UVA psychology department, Vanessa LoBue and Judy S. DeLoache, whose study gets some exposure in the July/August issue of The Atlantic. The pair asked 120 young kids and their parents to look at photos of snakes and flowers and measured their reaction times in picking out a threat (one snake photo among eight flowers) and a non-threat (one flower photo among eight snakes).

Not only did the adults pick out the snake more rapidly than the flower, the kids did too. They also found the snake faster when it was surrounded by non-threatening creatures like frogs and caterpillars. Conclusion? Humans may have "an innate predisposition to see a snake as a threat," as the Atlantic puts it. Our instincts make snakes’ unique physical characteristics stand out like neon signs to our brains.

Hissy fittest: Evolution has given us a brain tuned to snakes.

Posted In:     Uncategorized

Previous Post

On the right (career) path?

Next Post

Movies playing in town

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

Leave a Reply

Notify of