Scientific proof that the scariest thing imaginable is a tarantula

Illustration for article titled Scientific proof that the scariest thing imaginable is a tarantula

Researchers measured how the brain responds to fear, by sticking people inside fMRI machines and pretending to put tarantulas on their feet.

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Photograph via theagavin.

The setup involved strapping the subjects into an MRI, where they were shown a video that they believed to be a live feed of a tarantula being placed in boxes near their feet.

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Illustration for article titled Scientific proof that the scariest thing imaginable is a tarantula

What the scientists discovered was that the fear response was not linked to how close the spider was, but its movement towards or away from the subject. By comparing the self-reported level of fear to readings in the fMRI, the researchers are attempting to decipher which parts of the brain handle different fear-related responses.

Research published in PNAS

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DISCUSSION

I was watching the Today show this morning (don't judge me, there's nothing else on when I'm getting ready for class) and Matt Lauer had a tarantula on his hand. I was trying to understand how he could be so calm, even with that lady there saying it was harmless to humans.

There was no real point to that story, I just needed to post that picture.