Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A curious Top 100 Phobias List from FearOf.net

At LInkedIn Pulse I saw an article posted on May 15th by Grant Cardone on Overcoming the fear of public speaking that began:

“Are you scared of speaking in public? Do you have stage fright? Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is ranked #13 on the Top 100 Phobia’s in the World, higher than the fear of failure, the fear of being alone, and the fear of the unknown.”

I had not seen that list of phobias before, so I searched for it on Google and found it came from a page on a web site called FearOf.net by Jacob Olesen which claimed:

“These are the top 100 phobias in the world, with the most common ones listed from the top. You can click on each phobia to learn about causes, symptoms and treatments.”

His top 20 phobias from that list are shown above. (Click on the image for a larger, clearer view).  Spiders are #1, snakes are #2, heights are #3, being alone is #14, Failure is #15, and the unknown is #27. I’ve always been suspicious of lists that only show a ranking without giving a measurement (like percentages or number of Google or Yahoo search results) that would let you determine if adjacent items are nearly the same or very far apart.

Where had that list come from? As far as I know there has never been a worldwide survey, or one with a hundred different phobias. So I took his 100 phobia names and did a stack of Google searches with the very different Top 20 rankings based on number of search results shown above. Xenophobia, fear of the unknown (#1) stood out like a sore thumb, with 7,140,000 hits compared to only 865,000 for Agoraphobia (#2). The horizontal scale was set at 1,000,000 so the relative rankings of the other top 19 phobias would be clearly visible. Where is Glossophobia? It’s twenty spots further down, at #33 on my list rather than at his #13. 

The 20th one (his #51), Anatidaephobia, like the others has a whole page at FearOf.net about cause, symptoms, diagnosing, and overcoming. That is hilarious considering that Anatidaephobia is not real. It was dreamed up by the cartoonist Gary Larson as a very specific form of paranoia defined by a caption which read:

“Anatidaephobia: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.”

I blogged about it back in 2011, and also have blogged in 2012 about another of Gary Larson’s comical creations that didn’t wind up on the FearOf.net list:
“Luposlipaphobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor.”

Mr. Cardone’s article gives a series of tips.His paragraph for #3 Speak to everyone in the room and connect ends with a misquote:

“ ‘Everyone communicates, few comment,’ said John Maxwell.”

John C. Maxwell actually wrote a well-known book titled Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.

The image of Col. Jas. Guffey reading came from the Library of Congress.

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