Here is one of the abstracts (with some references): https://www.dropbox.com/s/pb1h19kslroyro8/TrypophobiaTFML.pd...
Sounds like something you would use for bad breath.
I guess it is not widespread because the evolutionary pressure only evolved it on part of human people for local reasons.
Or what I want to believe: Its phenotypical expression is different for different folks because of gene activation. Could be that traumatic occurences in the past (like being serious sick of s.th. like that, or being in the midst of an epidemy, while avoiding it oneself) activate the gene and this is passed on to the next few generations.
I've had arachnophobia (spiders). It feels like an intense, paranoid, startling horror which demands visual attention and quick jumping away of the body. If I know there's a spider nearby, I must be able to see it from a safe distance.
I have trypophobia (holes). It feels like my skin is crawling, like I'm being eaten alive from the inside, like my very essence of being is being violated by some cosmic plague, commanding me to look away and get as far away from the holed object as possible -- though without excessive urgency.
I can look at many things I dislike; many things I know for fact are dangerous. I can't look at certain kinds of clusters of holes.
Please don't feel obliged to answer this, but - is it only biological-looking pictures that trigger this? Or do you get it from clearly non-biological things (eg. security mesh, ventilation grills, cheesegraters) as well?
You really don't encounter something that satisfies all of these naturally very often. Pretty much never. But it doesn't have to be "biological", it can be bread or plastic or anything else.
This reaction is almost certainly a taught cultural behaviour.
In some areas of the world, snakes/spiders are considered food sources. Many of these areas, such as the amazon, also contain the highest concentrations of venomous species.
On the other hand, chimpanzees raised in captivity have been known to scream in fear when seeing snake-like objects such as pieces of hose.
As far as I can tell, not being afraid of them has to be learned. I cannot find a source, but I recall reading that even people who keep spiders as pets, still have a raised heartrate when holding them.
There was a video that presented images very quickly and asked you to count spiders and snakes percentages among innocent pics. Most respondents (me included) evaluated to at least 50%, while real ratio was something like 1/5 or less. Also, when you watch it, it feels like snake-spider-snake-grass-spider-snake. You may not run in panic, but you do see it.
Cannot find the video, and it was probably a gif, afair.
There is a major environmental/learned aspect to this, I don't buy the 100% inborn argument at all. Young children (0-12mo) don't give a damn about anything. I do believe we are born with the innate potential to focus on these creatures faster/earlier than other animals, but fear, that's learned.
I had to wait till the internet happened to find out what was that all about.
I have to repeat this experiment some day. I probably got less sensitive since then.
> I have to repeat this experiment some day.
Gotta love the pursuit of knowledge, the curiosity to understand one's own psychology. It reminds me of the various experiments conducted in the surrealist movement, inspired by Freud's exploration of the unconscious, the "art of the insane", anthropogical literature.
In another comment of yours, you mention that the holes being physical, rather than a 2D image, was probably an important aspect of its effectiveness in raising a strong reaction. That makes me wonder about what other natural phenomena produce such trypophobic textures, in terms of physics, chemistry, biology.
Strangely, I think I have a kind of "trypophilia", a sense of aesthetic pleasure from dense, complexly patterned structures.
I want to try to recreate that first thing that triggered me. Maybe physical object will work stronger than images or some specific proportions between hole size, distance, shading, randomness.
It wasn't even revulsion. Just a feeling it's dangerous or somehow evil. Despite full knowledge it's not because I just made it with perfectly safe ingredients that don't react to create something worse.
A lot of phobias have "involuntary" reactions, so, for me, it doesn't matter that I know the picture can't hurt me- I still get the negative reaction to it every time and no amount of rational thinking or understanding has any effect.
It's something more primal than that.
I have always understood /r/trypophobia to be a deep in-joke, and the earliest i can find reference to the idea at all is 2005: https://web.archive.org/web/20090316071914/http://www.geocit...
and that smells tongue-in-cheek too.
But yes, it's a weird, weird thing. No one ever talked about being afraid of clowns when I was a kid. Lots of people liked them, lots were indifferent, but I don't recall ever hearing anyone say they were frightened of them until much later in life. And I clearly remember the first time I heard of anyone disliking the word "moist", and thinking I was being trolled.
I personally had physical reactions of disgust and an unusual desire to destroy Lotus seed pods the first time I saw them. I wanted to put them on the cement and smash and grind them with my shoe until they were a fine paste. This was before I had ever heard the word "trypophobia".
The only thing in nature I've found to trigger me is Lotus seed pods. Unlike your example of the doctored images, there is nothing objectively gross about seed pods, they are a natural part of a healthy and harmless plant.
Call it morbid curiosity, but I will sometimes browse /r/trypophobia and I get the same feelings there, but never worse than simply viewing a seed pod.
The way I've always interpreted it is that it looks like and reminds us of an infected pimple/abscess/parasite/something growing under the skin where it shouldn't be, coupled with enough empathy or imagination to picture it happening to us. The natural reaction is then disgust and aversion. It's just a result of the way our brains are built, similar to seeing faces where they don't exist.
I'm pretty sure I've seen a lotus seed pod in real life and didn't have a reaction, since it's much easier to construct a mental image of what it really is instead of what it might be.
Should've read the rest of your comment before googling that. I didn't expect as strong a reaction as I just had upon seeing those. Deeply unsettling.
My second early incident was seeing the cover of the O'Reilly book "Windows Annoyances", which features an image of a Surinam toad with young embedded on its back. Yes, I wasn't a fan of Windows at the time, but I couldn't imagine what the editors were thinking when they chose that cover image.
I also have had a history, prior to being exposed to the concept of trypophobia, of body-horror nightmares where lots of tiny holes open up in my skin around my joints, so yeah, it's probably one of those common fears.
(Google that only if you're reasonably confident you're not a tryptophobe. :) )
I wouldn't call it a phobia but I get a very real reaction from it.
more seriously though, it seems strange that a lot of things I wouldn't notice at all unless there was some really bad trigger, like photoshopped trypto images and then I start noticing this pattern more (especially if there is something sticking out of those holes...)
bee/wasp honey combs with their younglings, anybody?
I think there are other visual phobias that maybe are even lesser known. I have some kind of phobia-like thing with industrial/mechanical things that are dirty-looking or poorly-lit. It's hard to explain. Also things like dam spillways/etc.
Like, opening up an indoor furnace to repair or check for issues. The dust, the rust, the coils, etc all give me a weird feeling. It's not as heavy or pronounced as my trypophobia. I can overcome it much easier (with strong/bright lighting, etc) but I still notice its presence.
Also, I'm not sure if "phobia" is the best term or not either. For me, in some cases there can be some kind of fear or disgust involved. But mostly for me it's not any kind of mental analysis ("ew, gross", etc) it's just a reaction. Looking at the pictures just immediately induces an unsettling feeling, crawling/itching head and skin, etc.
Sometimes it creeps into my dreams - can be very disturbing.
There’s a flashback description of the main character’s revulsion with a smashed wasp’s nest.
That was written in 1984ish so this has been around for longer than the web anyway.
I can't help but think that cognitive therapy would enable anyone to overcome the syndrome. But maybe the thought of a future self having overcome it is itself a trigger?
An elephant could manage it, with or without butter, if you could find an elephant not afflicted with trypophobia.
Pancakes. Crispy fried eggs. Fudge. Raw honeycomb.
Edit: And crumpets.
If you're not phobic you like the adrenaline I guess.
Other than Acrophobia and gore not sure of others that are common enough to get popular subreddits? ASMR is a more enjoyment high.
A lot don't transfer well to a computer screen I think. /r/claustrophobia is quite small compared to Submechanophobia.
 And the reason Trypophobia is thought to not be a phobia -
"While phobias are triggered by the emotion of fear, the study published in the open-access journal PeerJ concludes that trypophobia is more likely driven by disgust instead." https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/trypophobia...