Beth Stebner
August 13, 2015 11:35 am

Some people are scared of spiders. Some are scared of heights, and that my-heart-just-splashed-into-my-stomach feeling you get when you ride a roller coaster. And some people are, well, scared of holes. According to the Today show, up to 15 percent of the world’s population have an innate fear of holes and things that are clustered together. Holey moley indeed!

So, what does this mean, exactly? It means up to 15 percent of the world’s population is terrified of things like honeycomb, sponges, condensation from cold drinks, the inside of cantalope, and lotus pod flowers, which look like this:

The fear is called “trypophobia,” and it isn’t exactly new — A 2013 study out of the University of Essex figured out that it probably has something to do with evolution. So, why are people sooo freaked out about holes? Geoff Cole, a researcher for the University of Essex, discovered the answer when a man who had trypophobia visited him one day. The man told Cole he experienced this uncomfortable feeling when looking at a blue-ringed octopus. Like this one:

After doing some research on this octopus, NPR reports, Cole learned that it was venomous. So, he decided to look into images of other venomous animals —and he discovered they have similar characteristics as the trypophobic images he had previously analyzed. According to NPR, “Cole speculates that when someone with trypophobia sees an image or object with holes in it, it stimulates a primitive portion of his or her brain that associates the image with something dangerous.”

So, basically, when people who have trypophobia see clustered holes, their brain reacts as though they’ve just seen a venomous animal —and they need to move away from it pronto. It all makes sense —although it’s unclear why only 15 percent of the population experiences this. According to NPR, Cole plans on continuing the study to find out more about trypophobia.

(Images via Shutterstock, Wiki Commons)

The Corpse Flower is absolutely the strangest flower on the planet

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