The definition of Trypophobia, as explained by Urban Dictionary is, “…an intense, irrational fear of (organic) holes.” Though it’s not officially sanctioned by any medical field, Trypophobia is definitely real. How do I know? Because I had to look away to keep from vomiting while writing this article. (You’re welcome?) Even Wikipedia doesn’t have a page dedicated to the fear of clustered holes, deleting it each time it has been created for being, “likely a hoax and borderline patent nonsense.”
However, Popular Science investigated the phenomenon and while no psychologist they approached had heard of it, they weren’t surprised. According to one, Martin Antony:
Fear and disgust often go hand in hand, Antony says. “Evolutionarily speaking, almost all of the things that arouse a strong disgust-reaction—spiders, mice, blood, vomit—are things that could have been triggers for fear of illness.” Perhaps the same could be true for little holes, especially in natural objects where they seem particularly out of place. I suspect that we’re disgusted by pockmarked objects because they don’t look quite “right”; these perceived deformities signal danger, which we manifest as revulsion. But then again, a fear of asymmetry (another form of things looking not quite right) in some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder is not associated with disgust, Antony says. Perhaps holes, particularly in organic objects, subconsciously remind us of the symptoms of contagious illnesses that affect the skin, such as the rash or blisters associated with measles and chicken pox, respectively. All of this, of course, is speculation, and just goes to show how little we know about trypophobia.
Wonder if you have it? Look at these images and then take the test at the bottom of the post!
- Robert L. Dear was identified as the suspected gunman in a fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. ›
- World leaders will meet in Paris starting Monday to discuss a potential global climate change agreement. Here's what you need to know. ›
- And how well do you know what happened in the news this week? Take our quiz. ›