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What is trypophobia and what causes it?

Trypophobia is basically an aversion to the sight of clusters of small holes or openings or bumps which causes fear or disgust in people. It's regarded as a specific phobia which is any kind of anxiety disorder that amounts to an unreasonable or irrational fear related to exposure to specific objects or situations. Trypophobia isn't a mental disease and there aren't alot of studies that have been done on it.

As for the causes, there's no clear answer here but several theories have been proposed. Some people believe that its basically a sort of biological revulsion and not a learned one which stems from the fact that the brain sees things like that and registers them as danger because certain animals like snakes, spiders and insects have characteristics which are synonymous with trypophobic images.

Studies have also found that trypophobic and non-trypophobic people react to trypophobic imagery when it involves a disease on a human being, but only trypophobic people react to trypophobic imagery that is non disease related.

I'm definitely trypophobic and I can't stand the site of trypophobic images, I can't look at a trypophobic image for more than 5 seconds.

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Trypophobia is the fear of disgust of closely packed holes. People with this phobia tennd to feel very unsettled and uncomfortable at the sight of surfaces with small clustered holes.

However, trypophobia is still not officially recognized as a type of phobia since not research has been carried out on it. A growing number of incidence of people fearing clustered holes are being recorded. In certain cases, an victim starts to panic upon seeing photos of closely packed holes. Trypophobia is regarded as a weird issue associated with the fear of shapes created by nature.

What's the trigger for trypophobia?

Although a detailed information about trypophobia is still not widely available, there are certain things that are considered as trigger points according to people who suffer from this type of phobia. Trigger points include:


Lotus seed pods


Clustered eyes



Aluminum metal foam



Aside from the above-mentioned triggers, animals, which include mammals, insects, or creatures that have spotted skin or fur can also become triggers for people with trypophobia.


There are certain people who think that their fear towards holes is mostly innate, whereas research studies tend to link trypophobia with nature and DNA. The brain is said to associate the shapes with wounds, disease, or danger. Another theory suggests that trypophobia is due to priming and conditioning. Another theory regarding trypophobia is evolution.

Evolution - The fear towards clustered holes can be due to evolution. When people are exposed to pockmarked objects, the brain perceives it as something bad or dangerous.


Dr Cole suggests what worked for him - was looking at the images so often he became desensitised to them. So if it worked for him, it can also work for you.

When researching, as i saw the images I had goosebumps and felt uncomfortable. So I guess everyone has it.