Watching Spiderman and Antman might help you overcome your fear of bugs. Researchers from Ariel University and Bar-Ilan University say that doing so can act as exposure therapy for people who are afraid of bugs.
Exposure therapy is exposing oneself to their phobia until they’re no longer afraid. With this approach in mind, researchers showed 424 participants clips from Spiderman and Antman to see if symptoms of spider and ant phobias would decrease.
They found that exposure to a quick seven-second spider scene from Spiderman 2 reduced participants’ spider phobia symptoms by 20 percent. Subjects who viewed a seven-second clip from Antman experienced a similar effect.
Researchers say their findings show that fun, indirect exposure to our fears can prove effective in reducing fear and may be a viable solution for helping individuals with serious phobias.
Hoffman, Y. S., Ring, L., et al. (2019, April 23). Spidey Can”: Preliminary evidence showing arachnophobia symptom reduction due to Marvel superheroes movies exposure. Frontiers in Psychiatry.