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Phobias Of The Rich And Famous


The dictionary defines a phobia as "an irrational, excessive, and persistent fear of some particular thing or situation." According to medical experts, there are more than 700 specific phobias currently documented.

Several phobias are widespread, such as "claustrophobia" (fear of enclosed spaces), "ophidiophobia" (fear of snakes), or "acrophobia" (fear of heights).

About 1 out of every 20 Americans suffers from one or more phobias: some common phobias include fear of certain animals, being alone, open spaces, blood, or the Number 13 ( triskaidekaphobia). To accommodate the prevalent fear many people have of the Number 13, numerous multi-story buildings do not list the 13th floor as such, but skip from the 12th to the 14th. The spectacular auction of Princess Diana's used evening dresses before her death did not include a catalogued Number 13 dress, jumping from Number 12 to Number 14.

Even famous people have their intense fears:
Aviophobia (also called aerophobia): According to a study performed by Boeing Aircraft Corporation in 1980, 25 million Americans were scared to fly on airplanes. Famous notables of aviophobia include:

Singer Aretha Franklin has an extreme fear of flying. She won't travel on airplanes, even for concerts clear across the country.

Actor and screenwriter Billy Bob Thorton has cancelled television appearances that required him to get on a plane.

Other celebrities who are aviophobic include:

Muhammad Ali, former champion boxer.

Bob Bechel, political analyst.

Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer.

Cher, singer/actress.

Florence Henderson, actress.

Glenda Jackson, actress and member of British Parliament.

Michael Jackson, singer.

John Madden, sportscaster.

Bob Newhart, comedian/actor.

Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President and actor.

Other celebrities with known phobias include: Actress Natalie Wood was hydrophobic - her accidental death by drowning in the ocean in 1981 was very strange and unsettling for those who knew her well. Tennis champ André Agassi has a phobia of spiders, according to Brooke Shields in a statement to the press in October 1996. Supernatural novelist Anne Rice has stated that she fears the dark. Actress Kim Basinger has a phobia of wide, open spaces. Film director Alfred Hitchcock had a peculiar fear of eggs, according to biographer Donald Spoto. Country star Lyle Lovett reportedly is afraid of cows. Pop singer Michael Jackson appears to have a phobia of germs (referring to his obsessive wearing of a surgical-style mask when out in public).

Author: Vicki McClure Davidson


[It's the haunted elevator with the little girl-ghost, REALLY funny]

Then I asked them about what Fears & Phobias meant, what was scary in the video, etc.

Before showing them the PPT, I ask them to tell me some fears/phobias and list whatever they tell me on the board.
[common answers: high places, small places, bugs, cockroaches, deep sea]

After that I showed them the examples+photos that are in the PPT

After finishing the examples+photos I have the students list their Top 5 fears on a sheet of paper
[the poor students can grab stuff from the board, good students usually make up their own]

For an activity students need to find 5 other people who have matching fears with themselves.

We used this dialogue:

Are you scared of __________?
Yes, I am./No, I'm not.


What are you scared of?
I'm scared of ___________.

After all of the students finished matching I chose one student at random to start a chain-reading game.

The first student looks at their list. It says [Dogs 박지현]. So now she will stand up and say

지현 is scared of dogs.

Now it is 지현s turn to stand up and find someone on her list and tell us about their fear. I do this until there is about 3-4 minutes left in class and then show the Fear Factor clip.

Students really enjoyed it!



What Is Phobia? - Definition, Lesson & Quiz




Taught by

Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught Psychology and has a master's degree in Clinical Forensic Psychology, and will earn a PhD in 2015.

What does it mean to have a phobia? Is it possible to be afraid of abstract things like opinions or phobias themselves, or is it all a bunch of pseudopsychology? Read on to learn about the qualifications of phobias.

Phobias Defined

A Phobia is a persistent, excessive, or unreasonable fear of something to the point of impairment. Someone with a phobia may feel fear or anxiety in the presence of the object or during a situation, or they may feel fear or anxiety in the anticipation of encountering that thing or situation. Let's compare some phobias to some non-phobias:


Abigail screams loudly and runs away every time she sees a spider.

Bob freezes in fear when he hears a dog, even if it is a sleeping Chihuahua.

Both Abigail and Bob's fears are persistent - they respond in fear every time they encounter a specific object or situation. Additionally, this fear is so excessive that it leads to impairment; Abigail screams and runs away, while Bob freezes in place.

Not phobias:

Cathy becomes worried when driving at night.

Dale feels uncomfortable before speaking in front of a crowd.

The reason Cathy and Dale's fears are not phobias is because the fear or worry is not excessive - it does not interfere with the individual's life. The situations make them uncomfortable but are not severe enough that they must be avoided.

If Cathy was unable to drive at night due to her fear and the thought of it gave her severe anxiety, then it might be considered a phobia. If Dale refused to speak in front of a crowd and he avoided, at all costs, the possibility of having to give a speech, then this may be considered a phobia.

Commonality And Proximity

All of the phobias above - fear of spiders, dogs, nighttime, and public speaking - are quite common; however, the object of a person's fear being common is not a requirement for a phobia. In fact, it is unlikely for someone to have a phobia of something that is so common that it lacks the ability to hurt them (like the sun or opinions). Additionally, it's unlikely for someone to have a phobia of something that is so uncommon that it may never occur (like a duck watching you while planning your murder). People's fears are more often specific and could potentially cause harm (like germs causing infection or fear of being attacked). And if the fear is outrageous, you may be looking at someone with a more severe mental disorder.

In addition to these elements, the anxiety and fear caused by the object or situation is directly related to how close it is. If a spider is in the next room, Abigail's anxiety might be at, say, 2 on a scale of 10, while a spider next to her may be a 9 out of 10. Even a description or an image of the feared object can cause an intense reaction.

Common Types

Research into phobias indicates there are some common groupings of phobias. They are:

Animals: fear of animals or insects. This phobia typically starts in childhood.

Spiders were too scary to put here.

Natural environment: objects or events in the natural world, such as storms, heights, or water. This phobia typically starts in childhood.

Astraphobia is a fear of thunder and lightning.

Blood-injection injury: a fear of blood, injury, or witnessing a medical procedure. This phobia is often passed down in a family and accompanied with a strong gag reflex.

Situational: when the person is present in something, like a bus, tunnel, elevator, or enclosed space. Most common onsets are in childhood and early 20s.

Claustrophobia is a fear of small and enclosed spaces

Other: a catch all category for more unusual or difficult to group fears, such as a fear of choking or a child's fear of costumed characters.

Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the book that psychologists use to diagnose mental disorders, has a list of criteria that must be met to diagnose someone with a phobia. All of the following must be met:

Marked, persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by a situation or object.

Exposure causes an immediate anxious response.

Person recognizes the fear is excessive; a child does not have to make this realization.

The situation or object is avoided or endured with intense anxiety.

This avoidance causes stress in the person's life, resulting in a change in their normal routine.

This has occurred for at least 6 months in people under 18.

Fear is not better explained by another disorder.

Lesson Summary

A phobia is a severe fear to an object or situation. This fear must be powerful enough to affect an individual's life and day-to-day routine. They may avoid it at all costs, be on constant watch for it, or endure the object or situation with extreme anxiety. It must be persistent, and the adult must recognize their fear is excessive. Lastly, the fear must not be better explained by another psychological disorder.




STUDENT As QUESTIONS (Do not show to Student B)

1) What images spring to mind when you hear the word phobia?
2) Do you have any phobias?
3) How can someone confront and overcome a phobia?
4) Are all phobias irrational?
5) How do phobias develop?
6) Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to your mouth. Do you know of any other crazy phobias?
7) Do you know anyone who suffers from vertigo a fear of heights?
8) What do you think eremophobia - the fear of oneself is like?
9) Are people in your country xenophobic (they fear or hate foreigners)?
10) Can you guess what these phobias are hydrophobia, zoophobia, sociophobia and numerophobia? What would life be like with these? (Answers: fear of water, animals, society and numbers.)


STUDENT Bs QUESTIONS (Do not show to Student A)

1) What is a phobia?
2) Whats the difference between a phobia and a fear?
3) Gary Larson, a famous cartoonist, invented Anatidaephobia - the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you. Can you understand this phobia? Can you invent your own crazy phobia?
4) Do you know anyone with haemophobia a fear of blood?
5) Do you think people are developing new phobias?
6) What do you think would be the worst phobia to suffer from?
7) Charlie Brown said: "I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time." Do you also do this?
8) Do you, or anyone you know, suffer from Anglophobia a fear of English and English people? How would this affect your studying?
9) Do you think hypnotherapy can cure phobias?
10) Someone once said: Get the facts first. Then panic. Is this good advice?




Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1901

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