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Arachnophobia, SWOT Analysis Example

Pages: 2

Words: 676

SWOT analysis

There is an official term that describes something that I dislike, with a passion, and that is spiders. I have an extreme fear of them and this is called arachnophobia. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines arachnophobia as a “pathological fear or loathing of spiders” (Merriam-Webster.com, 2012). This type of fear, from a psychological standpoint, relates to how a perception influences behavior. I perceive that spiders are scary, disgusting and dangerous, and this causes me to behave in a certain way when I see them. I believe the subfield of psychology this relates to is cognitive, based on Merriam-Webster’s definition of cognitive psychology which is “a branch of psychology concerned with mental processes (as perception, thinking, learning, and memory) especially with respect to the internal events occurring between sensory stimulation and the overt expression of behavior” (Merriam-Webster.com, 2012). Thus, the psychology subfield of cognitive psychology is best suited for providing the psychological insight into my preference (my dislike).

Sensation and Perception

As it relates to sensation and perception, Zuckerman (1994) describes my preference dislike of spiders as falling into one of two behavioral types, and this is “withdrawal”. The other behavioral type is “approach”.

Zuckerman (1994) refers to the approach type (A-type) as a seeking sensation and the withdrawal type (W-type) as an avoidance sensation. He further explains that activities such as seeking out mates and searching for food are characteristics indicative of A-type behavior, and actions like being defensive and fleeing are characteristic of W-type behavior. This means that individuals who have A-type behavioral tendencies are those who find it thrilling and stimulating to seek out situations that excite them and possibly even threaten them, and they perceive this as necessary. Adversely, individuals with W-type behavioral tendencies are more apt to avoid this type of stimulation because they perceive it as unnecessary.

Affects of Engaging My Preference

To engage a spider is a scary event for me. It affects my state of consciousness in an unnatural way. I can almost lose awareness of everything around me except for the spider that I perceive is about to devour me. However, the key word is “almost”. Even though I am afraid at the point of the engagement, I am also cognizant of the fact that I must do something about the situation. For example, one day, when I was driving, a spider appeared on my dashboard. It scared me but I kept control of the car, reached for something and swatted it and kept driving. But, I felt very flushed and tense at that moment and I’m sure my blood pressure shot up a few points. My state of consciousness went from calm to fear to trying to calm back down in a matter of seconds. Additionally, this also means that the defensive aspect of my W-type personality took over to protect me.

How Being Educated About Spiders Helps

Learning about spiders and arachnophobia has helped me a great deal. Being educated about the way that spiders fit into nature and how they help control the population of other insects gives me some insight into their existence. I also read an interesting article in Science News magazine which helped me understand why my fear of spiders surfaced so early in life. In this article, Bower (2009) discusses a study that shows that girls may be more prone to arachnophobia than boys, and this often starts before age 1. The article reports that more females than males have spider phobias possibly because of an “evolved fear mechanism” (p. 11), of which females have a greater sensitivity.

Learning about my arachnophobia has definitely played a significant role in calming my nerves about spiders; however, the phobia is still there and perhaps it always will be.

References

Arachnophobia. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Retrieved November 3, 2012 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arachnophobia

Bower, B. (2009). Girls but Not Boys May Be Primed for Arachnophobia, Ophidiophobia: Fear of Crawly, Slithery Things Could Begin before First Birthday. Science News, 176(7). Retrieved November 3, 2012 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40384213.

Cognitive Psychology. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Retrieved November 3, 2012 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/cognitive%20psychology

Zuckerman, M. (1994). Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking. Cambridge University Press; 1st ed.

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