According to Ohman (2001), when one encounters an unexpected scenario marginal significant incident may interfere with current processing resulting to post attentive processing which is prioritized. This processing resources stimulus is associated with activation, phasic psycho physiological which is visible as familiarized responses, which make possible additional stimulus sensory processing (Ohman & Esteves, 2001).
Therefore, the attention of people who fear these things, for example, the snakes, ugly faces, snakes etc is caught very easily by them. For example if there is a
snake or spiders those people that have their phobia will be the first to notice it. This is seen even in our day-to-day life where one may flick out after seeing a snake only to watch closing and realize it is a twig. According to a model by Ohman (2001), the output from feature detection, perceptual system is automatically evaluated by a significance system.
Researchers were engaged in a search for the pictures of what they feared like the snakes and spiders and what they did not fear like the flowers (Ohman & Esteves, 2001). It was observed that the pictures of what was feared were quickly located and were the majority in comparison to those not feared. Three experiments were conducted to illustrate fear.
In the first experiment research participants were exposed to nine pictures with visual stimuli that was complex, they were expected to press different buttons to answer whether all the provided pictures were in the same group (spiders, snakes, mushroom, or flowers) or if a discrepant stimulus was present. The reason for the experiment was to check the ability of the participants to discover the discrepancy of relevant stimuli fear fast against irrelevant stimuli fear.
In the second experiment, the sizes of the provided pictures were different, small and large, to determine discovery latencies for fear inapplicable and fear applicable stimuli (Ohman & Esteves, 2001).
The participants just like in experiment one were expected to identify whether the pictures belonged to the same category or whether there was a discrepant stimulus present by pressing different buttons. In both experiments, the aim was to determine how fast the participants were in identifying the different classifications.
The third experiment was performed to investigate the hypothesis that participants who are fearful might display self-protective avoidance and hence they may take time to detect targets that are fear relevant in the midst of distracters that are fear irrelevant.
In this experiment, discovery of non-feared and feared stimuli that are fear relevant was evaluated in research participants chosen to fear spiders or snakes and not those that feared both. A control group that was non-fearful was incorporated as well.
The research participants from Karolinska institute responded to false or true questions regarding their fear of spiders and snakes (Ohman & Esteves, 2001).
The procedure used was the same as that in the experiment two, but there were two additions, a tape was put at the centered and the participants were supposed to fixate when they were through with a stimuli and the other addition was that a key press terminated the stimuli exposure.
In the first experiment, the participants were slower in detecting the fear irrelevant pictures among fear relevant pictures (Ohman & Esteves, 2001). In addition, faster in identifying fears relevant pictures among fear irrelevant pictures. The participants were also faster in finding a discrepant stimulus in a fear relevant picture than in a fear irrelevant picture.
In the second experiment, just like in the first experiments the research participants identified the fear irrelevant targets, slower than the fear relevant targets .the participants detected the small pictures more times than the larger pictures. The participants decided more quickly that a target was not present with fear relevant than with fear irrelevant pictures.
In the third experiment, participants were also faster more evidently in identifying those targets in the small than the ones in the large pictures .the fearful participants showed the effect of the fear appliance (Ohman & Esteves, 2001). The controls and the fearful research participants were quicker in finding a target that was fear relevant, which the research group did not fear.
For example, those that feared spiders were first in finding snakes, than in finding targets that were fear irrelevant. The participants were quicker in finding a fear relevant animal image that was feared, For example, participants who feared spiders were quicker in finding spiders.
It has been clinically reported that people who are phobic often search their surroundings for feared animals. Snake phobic people often look around their surroundings looking for snakes or the signs of snakes like snake holes.
The research participants were quicker in finding snakes and spiders distracted by mushrooms and flowers and slower in finding mushrooms and flowers in the background of the snakes and spiders (Ohman & Esteves, 2001). It also took more time to detect the images that were fear irrelevant among several distracters; the finding of targets that were fear relevant was determined by the size of the picture.
In conclusion, the feared animal sensitivity was proved by the third experiment, which shed light on the animal phobias clinical characteristics.
It is clearly seen that humans have a tendency to take interest in the stimuli of animals that are potentially threatening (Ohman & Esteves, 2001). In all the three experiments, it is clear that some ordinary phobic incentives have exceptional psychological characteristics of probable origin that is evolutional.
Ohman, F., & Esteves, F. (2001). Emotions drives attention: Detecting the snake in the grass. Journal of the experiment psychology , 466-476.