Phobias may be cured by watching others, study shows

Posted on September 18, 2013

Whether it is a fear of spiders, snakes or heights, many of us have phobias that we would love to be rid of for good. Now, a new study suggests that we can, by watching other individuals interact with the object or scenario that frightens us.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden say that experiencing our fears through the actions of another person may be more effective than trying to combat our fears directly, and it could even prevent them from resurfacing.

Previous studies have suggested that social forms of learning may trigger phobias, the researchers say. From this, they wanted to see whether it could also help to suppress them.

The findings of the study revealed that participants who watched the movie clip that included a person showed a significantly lower fear response to the target face, compared with those who watched the clip that did not include a person.

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Source material from Medical News Today