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How Your Worst Fears Stack Up Against Reality

ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) gives us a lesson in why we shouldn't be afraid of sharks, spiders, and snakes ...all those things that we joke are keeping us from visiting Australia. There are other things you can select as your top three fears, and the app will explain what your odds of dying from each one are.

So how much do cold, hard facts change that rush of adrenaline at the sight of, say, a spider? There have been no confirmed deaths from spider bites in Australia since 1979, while falling out of bed (a sub-category of falling deaths shown in the chart) killed 523 people between 2007 and 2016. Does knowing this mean you’ll now be more afraid of beds than spiders?

Probably not. Most people with irrational fears are well aware that the object of their terror isn’t likely to kill them. In fact, awareness that the fear is “out of proportion” to the actual threat or danger posed is one of the criteria for diagnosing phobias, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

So if we know they’re irrational, why do we cling to these fears?

And that's where they lost me. Yeah, we'll learn about the odds of dying, but while dying may be the great equalizer, it's not the only reason to fear something. I know I won't die of wasp stings, but an experience last summer taught me that a dozen angry wasps can make you wish you were dead for several days. At any rate, the site is geared toward summer safety, because it's the middle of summer in Australia. Check your fears here. -via Digg


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"So if we know they’re irrational, why do we cling to these fears?"

- What is 'because they have kept me alive this long so far'?
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