This article was first published by The Times of Israel and is re-posted with permission.
A study by Israeli researchers suggests that short exposure to the Marvel superhero movies featuring Spider-Man and Ant-Man can reduce arachnophobia symptoms by up to 20 percent.
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Researchers from Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University sought to test the theory that exposure therapy to phobic stimuli can counteract irrational fears. Until now, the effects of positive exposures have not been tested in cognitive behavioral therapy.
Prof. Menachem Ben-Ezra and Dr. Yaakov Hoffman exposed some 400 subjects to seven-second excerpts from Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ant-Man movies to see what effect it had on those with spider and ant phobias. The researchers found that viewing a short clip from the movies that contained images of ants and spiders decreased subjects’ respective phobias by 20 percent.
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