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Aetiology of phobias

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Objectively, it would appear that certain phobias occur more often than others, and that the age of onset varies with different types of fear. This would suggest that humans have innate tendencies to form certain fearful links for example to snakes or spiders. How this occurs is unclear, as is the means a which certain childhood fears in certain individuals persist into adulthood.

On a more psychodynamic level, explanations for phobias have developed from Freud's thoughts on symptom substitution to Wolpe's idea that a phobia is a response to conditioning event(s).

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