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Abnormal fears, Irrational fears, Obsessive fears


Particular objects, places, situations, feelings, or animals that provoke extreme, overwhelming, and debilitating fear or anxiety out of proportion to, or in the absence of, any actual danger.


Isaac Marks (1987) described phobias as an intense fear of objects or situations that is out of proportion to their danger, cannot be explained or reasoned away, is beyond voluntary control, and leads to avoidance of the feared stimuli. He distinguished phobias from typical fear, stating that phobias occur without any objective source of danger and can develop in response to nearly anything. Furthermore, he referred to the intense feeling of fear or anxiety experienced by phobic individuals when they encounter their feared stimuli as phobic anxiety. Therefore, unlike typically occurring fear, phobic fear is irrational and debilitating and is not adaptive. Most phobic or fear-relevant stimuli can be broadly...


  • Social Phobia
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobia
  • Exposure Therapy

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Correspondence to Michael Dalili .

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Dalili, M. (2016). Phobias. In: Weekes-Shackelford, V., Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

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