The Fear of Snakes provides a series of compelling evidence that shows that humans have an innate fear of snakes. Building on the previous studies on the Snake Detection Theory (SDT), the author presents a summary of psychological and neuropsychological experiments to explain the fear of snakes in humans and primates. Readers will come to understand why and how we are afraid of snakes from an evolutionary perspective.
The first half of the book discusses the history of psychological behaviourism and neobehaviourism. The latter half of the book consists mainly of the experimental studies performed by the author with a focus on three key items: First, compared with other animals, snakes especially draw the attention of primates and humans. Second, the ability of primates and humans to recognize snakes with particular efficiency. Third, processing mechanisms within the brain for snake detection is discussed from a new viewpoint
The Fear of Snakes offers a unique resource for all primatologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, herpetologists, and biologists who are interested in the evolution of visual and cognitive systems, mechanisms of fear, snakes or primates.
- Historical transition of psychological theories of fear: The view of fear in Behaviorism
- Are snakes special in human fear learning and cognition?: The preparedness theory of phobia and the fear module theory
- The Underlying Neuronal Circuits of Fear Learning and the Snake Detection Theory (SDT)
- Ontogeny and phylogeny of snake fear
- Do snakes draw attention more strongly than spiders or other animals?
- Other types of studies showing that snakes hold special status in threat perception
- Searching for the critical features of snakes
- Issues that remain unanswered
Nobuyuki Kawai is at the Department of Cognitive and Psychological Sciences Nagoya University Nagoya, Japan