Arachnophobia: This app can help you fight the fear of spiders
Spiders are among the most feared animals in the house and yard for many people, although there are no species in Germany that can be dangerous for humans. If you want to combat your fear of eight-legged friends, an app might help.
You should face your fears. Easier said than done. People with a spider phobia are particularly reluctant to expose themselves to real spiders.
Neuroscientists at the University of Basel have therefore developed Phobys (via CHIP), an app that allows fear training with augmented reality (AR). In other words, if you point the smartphone camera at your hand, you will see a spider sitting on it. But only in the display and not in reality.
The researchers have found that many more people affected feel capable of a confrontation with virtual spiders. The app has already proven itself in a clinical study: after just a few training sessions at home, the subjects felt less afraid of real spiders.
Only suitable for mild anxiety
Whether you are afraid of a virtual spider can be tested free of charge in the English-language app called Phobys (Android and iOS). Training to reduce fear of spiders costs five euros as an in-app purchase.
Those affected with mild forms of spider fear can use the app on their own if they are at least 16 years old, the scientists advise. People with a pronounced spider phobia should, however, use them
only with medical supervision
According to the information, the training consists of nine different levels in which you gradually get closer to the virtual spider and finally interact with it. With each level, the tasks should become more intense and difficult.
Each level also ends with a rating of your own fear and disgust. The application uses these to decide whether a level needs to be repeated. In order to keep the phobics motivated, there is now and then positive feedback as well as rewarding animations and sound effects.
The “Phobys” app is more of an entertaining affair and not suitable for real arachnophobics. Users criticize the application that the spider doesn’t look realistic enough because it doesn’t cast a shadow either.