TITLE

A REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE FOR A BIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR SNAKE FEARS IN HUMANS

AUTHOR(S)
Tierney, Kevin J.; Connolly, Maeve K.
PUB. DATE
September 2013
SOURCE
Psychological Record;Fall2013, Vol. 63 Issue 4, p919
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Three types of evidence are considered for the view that the propensity of humans to fear snakes is derived from our evolutionary history. It is argued that findings from investigations of adult fears have no specific bearing on the issue, as ontogenic and phylogenic explanations are confounded in such studies. The results of studies of fear acquisition by rhesus monkeys are also considered. These studies are interesting, but their relevance is questionable in the context of earlier studies of fears in chimpanzees, which did not identify a special status for snakes as fear stimuli. A number of studies of snake fears in young children are considered. These studies are promising but far from conclusive. All have methodological and interpretive limitations. It is concluded that it is premature to conclude that snake fears have an evolutionary basis.
ACCESSION #
91926345

 

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