General Question

susanc's avatar

Why are humans afraid of bugs, not counting malaria carriers?

Asked by susanc (16112points) August 11th, 2008

we are.

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

My fear of spiders (no bugs i general) is really primal. I hate their shape, which seems very archetypal to me. My fear of bes is because I am allergic only. Otherwise, I quite like them.

McBean's avatar

Bugs are little and can get into places you don’t want them to get. Plus, they have armies and armies of buddies backing them up!

susanc's avatar

Okay, McBean, I totally get that. Tent caterpillars; the
“armies and armies of buddies” effect. Ew.

Lightlyseared's avatar

well if you live in Australia probably because they are all ridiculously poisonous.

cheebdragon's avatar

I trust nothing that wants to bite me…

Harp's avatar

I think it’s because they seem so very alien to us.

When humans interact with other creatures, we engage our mirror neurons, the part of our brain that imagines the experience of others and causes us to feel it, to some lesser extent, as our own. For instance, we look at a purring cat curled up on our lap and we sense what it would be like to be that cat; we feel its complete relaxation and its contentment. Our brain is “mirroring” the cat’s experience. This capacity enables us to feel empathy and to get a sense of another creature’s intentions.

But we have a harder time doing this with creatures that are physically and psychologically very different from us. There seems to be very little in some animals for us to relate to. We can’t imagine what it would be like to have an exoskeleton, see through mutlple lenses, sniff with antenae. And we have no notion whatsoever of what the inner experience of being a bug is like.

This inability to mirror the experience of bugs, combined with the fact that some of them can actually hurt us, is just too much for some of us to deal with.

Les's avatar

Just type in “centipede” into Google, and you’ll see why I am petrified of those things. Ugh. And they’re fast. (I would put a link here, but as it stands, I can’t even look at a picture of one of them).
@harp: If I ever get reincarnated as a centipede, please step on me. I don’t want to know what it is like to be one of those.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Interesting Harp. I feel like that’s exactly what it is for me. Espciall silver-fish and other bugs shaped like that. There’s just something about the look of it, that just makes my stomach turn inside out.

cheebdragon's avatar

silver-fish are evil…...I think it’s something about bugs having more than 4 legs that freaks me out personally.

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