The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects

Hardcover | October 29, 2013

byJeffrey Lockwood

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The psychological connections between humans and insects are tantalizing and complex. Through both evolutionary associations and cultural representations, insects have deeply infested our minds. They frighten, disgust, and sometimes enchant us. Whatever the case, few of us are ambivalent inthe face of wasps, cockroaches, spiders, maggots, crickets or butterflies. They arouse terror, nausea, fascination - but rarely, if ever, indifference. And the costs of fear can be high, both in terms of the quality of individual lives and with regard to our social responses, from soaking our foodwith insecticides to overlooking our dependence on the ecological roles of insects (including those on the brink of extinction). The book is an examination of what scientists, philosophers, and writers have learned about the human-insect relationship. Jeffrey Lockwood is an entomologist himself and yet still experiences bouts of entomophobia; in fact, his seemingly paradoxical response to certain insects and scenarios is whatprompted him to write this book. The book explores the nature of anxiety and phobia and the line between them. It examines entomophobia in the context of the nature-nurture debate, posing the question: how much of our fear of insects can be attributed to our ancestors' predisposition to avoidinsects to benefit their own survival, and how much is learned through parents? Using his own and others' experiences with entomophobia as case studies, Lockwood breaks down common reactions to insects, distinguishing between fear and disgust, and inviting the reader to consider his/her ownemotional, cognitive, and physiological reactions to insects in a new light.

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The psychological connections between humans and insects are tantalizing and complex. Through both evolutionary associations and cultural representations, insects have deeply infested our minds. They frighten, disgust, and sometimes enchant us. Whatever the case, few of us are ambivalent inthe face of wasps, cockroaches, spiders, maggo...

Jeffrey Lockwood is a Professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming and author of Six-Legged Soldiers (OUP; April 2010).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:230 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 29, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199930198

ISBN - 13:9780199930197

Customer Reviews of The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well researched and interesting read! I bought this book for university research and it was very helpful. I appreciated all the research that has gone into each section and the fun examples. A great window into society's perception of the insect and spider world.
Date published: 2016-11-25

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue: Entomophobia from the inside: Swallowed by a swarm1. The Nature of Fear-and the Fear of Nature2. Entomophobia: A product of our genes?3. Entomophobia: Practice Makes Perfect?4. Disgust: Horror's Other Half5. The Terrible Trio: Imagining Insects into Our Lives6. Treating the Horrified: Finally, some good news7. Entomophilia: Insects as sources of wonderEpilogue: Tales of Terror: Bed bugs in New York City