FEAR OF MICE
The fear of mice (musophobia) affects 20 percent of adults according to a Gallup™ poll and has the widest spread of all fears between the sexes. An incredible 5.5 times more women than men are afraid of mice. This is consistent with the fact that mice are far more afraid of men than women. Men are more likely to hurt them.
Compared to all other fears this one is difficult to explain or classify.
a. Primordial Fear of Mice.
The fear of mice may have roots in the primordial sections of the brain. Most of these primitive fears arise from life or death situations, such as, an animal will kill you, jumping of the cliff will kill you, trying to cross a river when you can’t swim will kill you; a stranger entering your home will kill you, etc. That that does not appear to be a reason for the fear of mice.
The possible perception of starvation may be a connection as discussed in the Read More Link below.
Perception of Starvation. The mice population is one of the largest threats to the human food supplies. Taking away the food causes starvation, which is a life and death scenario. Every mouse will produce 3 to 14 babies with each birth cycle, and each mouse can reproduce 5 to 10 times each year. This means that one mouse can theoretically produce up to 289 billion, yes billion, duplicates each year. This could wipe out the food supply very quickly. In this regard, it would be important to reduce the mouse population and supports a strong dislike of the furry animal. Since the females in ancient times were in charge of the food storage, this would be consistent with women being 5.5 times more fearful than men.
But hate and fear are different emotions. Being afraid of the mouse and running away does the opposite in protecting the food supply. Emotions are complicated matters. For example, some people say that one cannot really hate unless they first loved This suggests that opposites may be linked.
b. Learned Fear of Mice
Traumatic Event. The majority of the websites suggest that the fear of mice arises from a traumatic experience. This seems inconsistent since a tiny mouse cannot inflict any significant physical injury to a human. Mouse’s physical appearance is not scary like a spider. All of the mouse’s features are cute — large eyes, large ears, button nose, small hands, and soft hair.
But there are an indirect connections to physical Injury as discussed in the Read More link below.
Perception of Catching a Disease. The general perception is that the mouse is a carrier for many diseases. This may be the result of social pressures.
“Real” and “perceived” are the exact same electrical signals carried in the brain. Therefore, whatever a person believes to be true is true regardless of the facts.
The CDC reflects this social pressure. It states that mice (and rats) spread over 35 diseases by direct contact. This is disclosed on the front page. But, the pages that actually list the diseases, show that the diseases are extremely rare and mostly encountered in remote jungle environments.
One way to reduce your fear of mice is to think of some benefits from mice. Here are four things that mice do for us:
- Mice are responsible for the advancement of almost all medical science including: bacteriology, virology, genetics, molecular biology, immunology, hematology, genetics, oncology, etc. Our life expectancy has been extended because of the sacrifices of these tiny animals.
- Mice play a major role in the terrestrial ecosystem creating one of the primary food balance between plants and animals.
- Mice distribute plant seeds to create biodiversity.
- Mice aerate hard soil providing improved moisture distribution.
Parent Connection to Fear of Mice. Was either of your parents afraid of mice? Did they jump up on a chair when a mouse appeared? Perhaps they screamed when the little creature ran across the room? Did you have an over-protective parent that wouldn’t let you return to a room where a mouse was observed?
Fears overwhelmingly develop between the ages of 5 and 11. This is the time period where the parents have greatest influence.
Click on the Read More Link for other Connections from Parents.
Chemical/Hormone Connection to Parents. Most people do not realize that their may be a chemical/hormone/biology connection. In a study of mice, a chemist introduced the odor of acetophenone (orange blossom) to a parent mouse and trained them to fear that odor. The first generation offspring had a startled reaction to the smell. The second generation had the same startled reaction. They did the same test except using male mice as the first parent. The subsequent generations had the same startled reaction. There was no DNA changes between the parents and the offspring.
In New York a dozen women who were pregnant on 9/11 and developed PTSD. A study showed these women exhibited a lower cortisol hormone level as compared to those not exposed to the 9/11 attack. The babies of the PTSD group also had a lower cortisol level. Some people opine that perhaps the odor molecules were carried from parent to baby in the womb. That theory is unlikely, since the blood of a person changes every 120 days. All organ cells are replaced over various times with the sole exception of visual cortex, which does not change.
These observations are intriguing. It means that ever piece of food eaten, every visual observation, every smell, every taste, everything you hear, and every emotional experience, has the potential of being passed to the next generation. This supports the view that feelings may be passed between generations in addition to DNA.
Folklore from Older Generations. There are many folklore reasons given why people are afraid of mice.
1. Mice will crawl in bed with you. There is no evidence that mice crawl in bed with humans. It is counter-intuitive to think that a mouse will crawl in bed with a giant moving animal.
- 2. Mice will run up a woman’s dress. Another example of a lack of evidence. This is in the manipulation category of boys scaring girls.
- 3. Elephants are afraid of mice. The reasoning is that if a two ton Elephant is afraid of mice, then I should be too. The problem is –it’s not true. Elephants have poor eye-sight but great smell. They smell things long before they see them. Smelling something unusual will get their attention and if they cannot see the threat, it compounds the problem. Bringing a mouse close to the eye of the elephant produces no effect.
- 4. Mice are not afraid of dogs. Again not true. Mice are afraid of all household pets. The fact that mice will eat dog food, means only that mice will eat almost anything. We all put cheese in mouse traps. Strangely, cheese is one of their least liked foods. The mouse’s favorite food is –chocolate followed by peanut butter.
c. Fear of Mice Caused by Manipulation.
There are enormous manipulation efforts conducted by the movie industry, the news media industry, the agriculture industry, and the exterminator business. By suggesting that there is a mouse problem has political and economic ramifications to justify pushing a particular agenda.
d. Personality Trait Connection.
The personality trait most applicable would be the B and D Types. People who are afraid of mice include: Tinie Tempah, Walt Disney, Will Smith, etc.