This shouldn't be taken lightly. When people who have phobias encounter the animals that makes them anxious, they experience a range of symptoms: sweating, shaking, nausea, stomach aches, difficulty breathing, fast pulse and screaming. Some experience real hysteria.
The new research was conducted by professor Menachem Ben-Ezra from the Department of Social Work at Ariel University, and Dr. Yaakov Hoffman from the Department of Social Sciences at the Bar-Ilan University. Researchers exposed 424 subjects that suffered phobias of ants and spiders to clips from the Marvel series — mostly Spider-Man and Ant-Man, and published their finds on the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal.
The results were surprising: subjects experienced some 20% less anxiety when encountering the real creatures in their homes after watching a seven-second long scene from the above-mentioned films. The scenes chosen were especially gruesome, far more than the small sized ants and spiders found in most homes.
Surprisingly, these scenes actually calmed the subjects down.
The two professors who conducted the experiment said that the results give us new insights about a way to ease people's fear.
The research was published in a period with many new Marvel films coming out. In March the film Captain Marvel was released, and in late April Marvel's the Avengers grossed a staggering $ 1.2 billion in its first weekend out, an all-times record.
The next Spider-Man film by Marvel is due in July, for all those who suffer a spider phobia and wish to calm their nerves.