When a seemingly innocuous image of a woodpecker stashing away its acorn supply made the internet rounds, Twitter-users expressed revulsion. They weren’t reacting to the bird or the actual acorns, but to the set of holes in which the bird was storing its treasure. Clustered in an irregular pattern, the holes were triggering a condition called trypophobia.
This Acorn Woodpecker admiring his stash in a granary tree pic.twitter.com/ppHgSVoyfK
— 41 Strange (@41Strange) June 6, 2019
To someone with this phobia, an otherwise benign – and even downright gorgeous – image can spark fear and disgust. These individuals aren’t just afraid of any hole they see. Trypophobia is characterized by an aversion to clustered patterns of irregular holes or bumps. The term seems to have been coined by someone in an online forum in 2005, though scientists say the condition has likely been around for much longer.
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