Why do people have Trypophobia?

Lotus pod with repeating circles. Does this make you feel scared or gross you out?

Lotus pod | Kensington Aquatic Gardens | Emma White | Flickr

Lotus pod with repeating circles. Does this make you feel scared or gross you out?

Laila Tanabe, Reporter

Trypophobia is the aversion or fear of clusters of holes, bumps, and repeating patterns. People might feel this when they see honeycombs or lotus pods. 

Some theories on Trypophobia say that it comes from the fact that some patterns resemble those on dangerous animals, poisonous animals like the blue-ringed octopus, and poison dart frog are an example of this. 

In 2013 a study on Trypophbia was conducted. The research showed that people with Trypophobia reacted to images with high contrast. They decided that the phobia was an unconscious association of bumps and holes with dangerous animals. 

In 2017, another study said that “Trypophobia may be an exaggerated and overgeneralized version of this normally adaptive response”. People mainly reacted to stimuli with skin-transmitted pathogens, supporting the idea that Trypophobia exists to help people avoid disease.  

Trypophobia isn’t officially considered a phobia. The first cases of it Trypophobia were reported online. 

Works Cited

 Cole, Geoff G., and Arnold J. Wilkins. “Fear of Holes – Geoff G. Cole, Arnold J. Wilkins, 2013.” SAGE Journals, 27 Aug. 2013, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797613484937.

Cherry, Kendra. “What Causes Trypophobia (Fear of Holes)?” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 12 Mar. 2020, www.verywellmind.com/trypophobia-4687678#citation-5.

Giner-Sorolla, Roger, et al. “Disgusting Clusters: Trypophobia as an Overgeneralised Disease Avoidance Response.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699931.2017.1345721?journalCode=pcem20.