Facing Phobias Vicariously

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,970
    Researchers say that watching others safely interact with feared creatures, people, or situations is a more effective treatment for phobias than overcoming them through personal experiences.

    A phobia can be difficult to overcome but new research out of Stockholm says that watching someone else safely interact with a feared creature or person can help you overcome your fear.  Whether you’re dealing with a fear of heights, small spaces, clowns…they say that this vicarious experience works even better than putting yourself in the feared situation and safely overcoming it.  They explained that safety information is often transferred from other individuals through social forms of learning.  In their experiments with vicarious social learning, they found that this type of learning also prevented the recovery of the fear memory.