Understanding Acrophobia, or Fear of Heights

Understanding Acrophobia, or Fear of Heights

What causes it?

Sometimes, acrophobia arises as a result of a traumatic event involving heights, such as:

  • falling from a high place
  • watching someone else fall from a high place
  • having a panic attack or other negative experience while in a high place

However, phobias, such as acrophobia, can sometimes manifest suddenly for unknown reasons. Genetics or environmental factors can be at play in these situations.

For instance, if you have acrophobia, you may be more prone to have it overall. Or perhaps you developed a phobia of heights from observing the actions of your childhood caretakers.

Evolved navigation theory

The development of acrophobia in some people may potentially be explained by something known as evolved navigation theory.

This idea holds that certain human functions, such as height perception, have evolved naturally. Your risk of dangerous falls can be decreased by seeing something as being higher than it actually is, which increases your chance of living to reproduce.

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