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Your Aversion to Spiders May Be Genetic

Do spiders make your skin crawl, despite your fondness for Charlotte's Web? This may be out of your control. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University measured our instinctual reactions to insects by rating the expressions of fear on the faces of 11-month-old babies when they were shown separate photos of spiders and smiling people. The female babies tended to spend more time looking at the human faces than at the spider, while male babies spent an equal amount of time gazing at both pictures. Barnes-Svarney says the researchers hypothesized that women evolved to be wary of spiders, snakes and other venomous creatures so that they could protect their vulnerable children at home while the men were out hunting and gathering.