- Research shows that babies are not innately afraid of snakes
- A group of babies were shown videos of snakes
- A "startle probe" proved that they were not scared while watching them
If there is one creature that inspires intense fear among humans around the world, it is the snake.
However, fascinating research has shown that you were probably not scared of snakes when you were a baby.
Researchers from the Rutgers University in New Jersey, US showed a group of babies videos of snakes and elephants accompanied by both happy and fearful voices.
Their aim was to assess the babies' physiological responses by startling them while they were watching the videos.
They used a "startle probe," which in this case was an unexpected bright flash of light as they watched.
The idea was that people are more "startled" when they are already watching something scary or fearful.
For instance, if one is watching a scary movie and hears an unexpected sound, his or her startled reaction would be more intense because they are already scared.
However, the researchers found that the babies' startle reactions were less intense while watching the snake videos compared to the elephant videos. Their heart rates were also lower.
One of the researchers, Vanessa Lobue, said: "What we found is that their startle responses were not bigger when watching a video of a snake, even when paired with a fearful voice."
This showed that babies are not born with a natural fear of snakes.
Watch a related video below.