Aversive response to spiders and the underlying emotions (19-07164S)

Basic informations

Investigator: RNDr. Eva Landová, Ph.D.
Main recipient: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research period: 1/1/2019 - 30/6/2022
Total budget:8,690,000 CZK
Supported by: Czech Science Foundation (GAČR)


Deregulated emotions evoked by various spiders are typical for arachnophobia, one of the most common phobias. The emotional experience associated with spiders, the context of encounter, and experience of negative imagination and over-generalization of fear is still not fully understood, nor are the physiological and neural correlates. First, we designed an experiment testing whether the context of other emotionally salient stimuli (disgust- and fear-evoking) influences the specificity and intensity of emotions elicited by spiders in high- and low-fear respondents. To monitor the emotional arousal, we will use physiological measures and fMRI. Next, imagination of spiders with and without preceding specific stimuli presentation should activate emotional circuits in high-fear respondents more than visual stimuli presentation. Specific regions of the brain involved in the cognitive-emotional control of spider phobia should be activated. Finally, a new hypothesis about transferred fear from scorpions on spiders will be tested. Our work should contribute to understanding of arachnophobia.