• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Virtual reality: a cell phone can help you overcome your fear of spiders


The fear of spiders makes life difficult for many people – now a cell phone can help. Scientists at the University of Basel have developed a smartphone app that can eliminate the fear of those affected. Researchers reported in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders that after two weeks of using the app, people scared of spiders were able to get closer to a real spider in a display case than those who did not use the app. ‘application.

The app is designed as a mobile game

According to the study, phobias of all kinds affect between three and 15% of people in their lifetime. The obvious fear of spiders is called arachnophobia. Those affected sometimes have to limit themselves in their daily lives: some avoid being outside, others meticulously search every room for crawling animals or never enter basements or attics. According to the study, many people did not seek professional help out of shame. The “Phobys” smartphone app can be used discreetly at home for mild forms of spider fear.

The application displays virtual spiders. It can only be seen from a distance, then up close and finally in motion. If you point the mobile camera with your hand, you can use the app to place a very real digital spider on the back of your hand. “For people who are afraid of spiders, exposing themselves to a virtual spider is easier than exposing themselves to a real spider,” said one of the authors, Anya Zimmer. The developers designed the app as a mobile game. The exercises become more difficult on several levels. Ultimately, a lot of virtual spiders crawl around.

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66 people afraid of spiders participated in the study. Half of them completed six half-hour training sessions over a two-week period. Detailed surveys revealed that using the app significantly reduced fear of spiders (Apa / dpa)

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  • Virtual reality: a cell phone can help you overcome your fear of spiders
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