June 30, 2010 / 1:01 PM / 9 years ago

Researchers seek Little Miss Muffets for fear study

A spider spins a web at a remote area on Hong Kong's Lantau island June 22, 2009. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian university is on the hunt for girls who recoil at the sight of spiders for research into how fear affects the processes of the brain.

“The researchers are looking for girls aged between 8-13 years who are very fearful of spiders and/or who feel sick at the sight of them,” the University of Graz said on its website.

The girls will be shown pictures of the eight-legged crawlers and their brainwaves will be registered. They will also undergo free fear therapy with specialists. The researchers hope the results will help them develop their phobia treatments.

“Spiders provoke revulsion for many people and even set off fearful panic. Girls in particular are frequently affected,” the university said.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall, editing by Paul Casciato

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