Study says watching ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Ant-Man’ can reduce phobias of insects

(NEW YORK) — If you can’t stand the sight of creepy-crawlies, this could be a job for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. That’s at least what scientists at Bar-Ilan and Ariel Universities in Israel have discovered.

Specifically, they discovered that exposing the arachnophobic, and myrmecophobic — the latter, people who are afraid of ants — to Spider-Man 2 and Ant-Man, actually alleviated their symptoms.

According to the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, more than 150 participants were told to watch either a seven-second opening scene from other Marvel movies, a seven-second “calming scene of nature,” or a seven-second insect-intensive scene from either Ant-Man or Spider-Man 2, depending on their fears.

Those who’d seen the scenes of bugs in the movies experienced a 20% reduction in their phobic symptoms than those who’d watched the other stuff.

The researchers reinforced the theory that exposing the fearful to the bugs that bugged them — in ways other than in person — actually helped them cope better.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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