Fearing spiders makes them seem bigger
The more fear of spiders you experience when you see them,
the bigger you remember the spider to have been.
If you have an extreme fear of spiders, you may not want to walk into a room where someone has recently seen a spider. It is thought that people with a phobia may actually perceive the object of their fear differently. This different perception may in turn feed their fear even more. A recent study by researchers of the University of the Ohio State University focused on the relationship between the experienced fear when seeing a real spider and the estimated size of this spider. They found that when people experienced more fear during their encounter with a spider, they estimated the spider as bigger than when people experienced less fear. According to the authors, this finding supports the idea that fear for an object influences its perceptual encoding and processing.
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Vasey, M.W., Vilensky, M.R., Heath, J.H., Harbaugh, C.N., Buffington, A.G., & Fazio, R.H. (2012). It was as big as my head, I swear! Biased spider size estimation in spider phobia. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 20-24, doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.08.009