September 12, 2019

Apple's new iPhone has a set of 3 camera lenses in back... and it upsets people with "trypophobia," the fear of clusters of small holes.

WaPo explains.
The backlash comes from people who say they suffer from an obscure and perplexing condition called “trypophobia” ⁠ — a fear of clusters of small holes like those found in shoe treads, honeycombs and lotus seed pods.... The phobia isn’t recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders... But self-described sufferers and some researchers claim the images can evoke a strong emotional response and induce itching, goose bumps, and even nausea and vomiting....
Ah, yes. Of course. I've written about trypophobia twice already on this blog. In 2013, I told you about the subreddit devoted to the peculiarity, r/trypophobia. And I see that they're expressing themselves about the new phone:

It’s all camera from r/trypophobia


And here's my 2017 post, on the occasion of an "American Horror Story" poster that triggered trypophobes.



Back to WaPo and the new iPhone:
In 2016, Kendall Jenner raised the condition’s profile when she wrote a blog post saying the images give her “the worst anxiety.” “Things that could set me off are pancakes, honeycomb, or lotus heads (the worst!)," she wrote. “It sounds ridiculous but so many people actually have it!”
Pancakes! I know what she's referring to — the look of the batter when it's time to flip.



Flip the pancake. But for some people, apparently, flip their lid.



Back to WaPo:
Researcher Arnold Wilkins, a professor emeritus at the University of Essex, theorizes the mathematical principals hidden in the patterns require the brain to use more oxygen and energy, which can be distressing.... “We know the images are difficult to process computationally by the neurons of the brain, they use more brain energy.”

Photos of honeycombs and strawberries — common sources of the creeps, or worse, for people with trypophobia — also share those mathematical qualities with more sinister sights like mold and skin lesions. Other research suggests the discomfort might come from an innate drive to avoid infectious diseases and contaminated food. Some have also hypothesized the fear could stem from an evolutionary response to dangerous animals like poisonous frogs and insects, which often display patterns similar to those seen trypophobic photos.
Camera lenses are a special problem, I think, because they're sort of eyes. When we look at eyes, we have the feeling that it's a living thing, and if it's not 2 eyes, the living thing feels alien — heartless or cruel:



Have I triggered your arachnophobia? Again?

Back to WaPo:
What can you do if you want to wretch every time you see the new iPhone?
Is it "wretch" or "retch"? It's retch.  Fortunately, wretched editing doesn't make me want to throw up. "Wretch" isn't even a verb. You wretch.

ADDED: If "wretch" isn't a verb, why does the word "wretched" exist? "Wretch," the verb, is obsolete. The OED has it as a transitive verb meaning "To render miserable" and as an intransitive, Scottish verb meaning "To be or to become... parsimonious." From 1633: "As the wretch wretcheth, the more he is enriched."

So WaPo's spelling is fine if these iPhones are making you parsimonious (in Scotland in the 17th century).

MORE: To be wretchedly precise, the OED does not say that the adjective "wretched" comes from the obsolete verb "to wretch." It says the etymology happened "Irregularly" by adding the "-ed" suffix to the adjective "wretch." "Wretch" was once an adjective that meant "poor, miserable, deeply afflicted" (that is, having the qualities of a wretch). Thus, in the 1400s, one might write: "Allas! I, woful creature,..I, wreche woman."

By the way, originally, the noun "wretch" referred to a banished person, an exile: "Goo naked vngry and bare foot.., as wrecch in werlde þou wende." As you wend your way through the world, you wretch, go naked, hungry, barefoot, and phoneless.

66 comments:

gilbar said...

The phobia isn’t recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders... But self-described sufferers

Here's a modest proposal:
IF you're a 'self-described sufferer' of a 'phobia' that isn't even recognized....
SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!

I am a self-described sufferer of a phobia about people that are fuckheads.

Skylark said...

Evolution never happened, and it is impossible that our brain could be pre-programmed in some way by genetics perhaps left over from earlier versions of our brains. Our minds are blank slates onto which any feminist or lefty ideology can be written. Given that unassailable truth. I am calling bullshit on this.

whitney said...

Well I think all those images were disgusting so I guess I have that

Big Mike said...

@Phidippus, two spider pictures in two days! You must be happy.

gilbar said...

seriously, i have a Real Problem with a combination of Yellow and Black
To be Caring, and Considerate; Could EVERY ONE please NOT wear those colors?
At Least, Not In AMES, not This weekend?

I'm not asking too much, after all, i have a self-described phobia, and that means
YOU HAVE TO COMPLY WITH WHAT I ASK

Skylark said...

This is what comes from not hauling your kids around in the back of pickup trucks, taking away monkey bars, etc, etc. They grow up unable to handle the mildest anxieties.

Wilbur said...

Who you calling a wretch???

Oh, that's right. You just banned him. Never mind.

Shouting Thomas said...

I got rid of my iPhone when I retired. Way too expensive for a retiree living on a limited budget.

The new iPhone comes in at about $1,100, right?

I don't even carry a cell phone. Who makes phone calls any more? Nobody I know. Everybody messages or texts.

I carry a five year old iPad Mini 4 in a Logitech keyboard case. The screen is bigger than an iPhone's. The keyboard is physical and big enough to do some serious typing. It has cell capability, so if, God forbid, I'm moved to make a phone call, I can do that on Skype.

And the camera on the iPad Mini is servicable, although a little clunky because of the size of the device.

Skylark said...

What bothers me about the spider picture is that it appears to have its head hanging by a thread from its body.

Beth B said...

1st Thought: Is there anything a Kardashian/Jenner can't ruin?

2nd Thought: To hell with the DSM-5! A Reddit sub groups says this condition is real. We'd better recognize!

gilbar said...

( I promise, this will be my last post; i'm on my way to catch trouts)
but seriously; Maybe, Just MAYBE if you don't like these phones, don't Buy one?

Oh wait? You don't want to have to even look at one; you don't want anyone to have one?

You know those people with a hand that is like a snake? or it's just one finger?
There are a LOT more people in the world with phobias about People with birth defects, in general, then there are people with phobias about iphones. Do we give ANY time to those people?

Final thought; There are quite a few people around my town, that have revulsion towards modern technology. You could call it a phobia (or, a religion) . They won't even use rubber tires. Maybe people that are afraid of iphones should think about the Amish way?

jaydub said...

Apple stock is over $223/share. The phobia must be localized to WaPoo subscribers.

John Lynch said...

Not buying a Norelco razor.

Mike Sylwester said...

Democracy Dies in Darkness!

Ann Althouse said...

"Evolution never happened, and it is impossible that our brain could be pre-programmed in some way by genetics perhaps left over from earlier versions of our brains. Our minds are blank slates onto which any feminist or lefty ideology can be written. Given that unassailable truth. I am calling bullshit on this."

It's at least as easy to hypothesize that evolution produced trypophobia. Imagine foraging and encountering this.

rhhardin said...

theorizes the mathematical principals hidden in the patterns

Homophonia at WaPo.

Howard said...

The eyephone omni-opical lenses looks like blueberries. Yum.

Annie C. said...

I thought the bleeding tooth mushroom was beautiful.

Chuck said...

Trypophobia is a real thing, whether 'recognized' or not. If you don't experience it then I know you'll find that difficult to believe. But it is most definitely true.

Narayanan said...

More convincing if spell as ...
Tripe-ophobia

Narayanan said...

Worship Lord Shiva (3 eyes) are unfazed.

Stephen said...

The use of “principals” instead of “principles” made me wretch.

Ralph L said...

Jenner math wiz: 3 holy words unlikely to be seen together.

Aren't the holes on the back of the phone?

gspencer said...

"The backlash comes from people who say they suffer from an obscure and perplexing condition called “trypophobia” ⁠ — a fear of clusters of small holes like those found in shoe treads, honeycombs and lotus seed pods...."

Must be tough trying to open/close a screen door.

iowan2 said...

Nice try gilbar, but life is tough, and then the Hawkeyes come to town.

Seriously, I'm old enough to have learned never to make predictions concerning college athletics, and especially in-state rivalries. Our son is a Cyclone alum, I grew up 45 minutes from IC and spent fall afternoons listening to Jim Zable. I'm happy no matter what. I just hope its close.

jaydub said...

"Trypophobia is a real thing, whether 'recognized' or not. If you don't experience it then I know you'll find that difficult to believe. But it is most definitely true."

So is TDS. If you could spend a few days with someone who experiences it (I mean as an unwilling observer, not as one who is inflicted) you would probably realize just how annoying it is.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought the bleeding tooth mushroom was beautiful."

But if pushed to eat it, you'd probably resist.

tim maguire said...

If you flip the pancake, the holes are still there. Just because you can't see them...you know they're still there.

That phone is ugly and, even though I have no weird fear of holes, I find it a bit unsettling.

tim maguire said...

Chuck said...
Trypophobia is a real thing, whether 'recognized' or not. If you don't experience it then I know you'll find that difficult to believe. But it is most definitely true.


Conditions that I or someone I know has are serious and should be treated that way.

Conditions that no one I know has are bupkis.

Fernandistein said...

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear are regular and irregular patterns of holes themselves — named, reasonable, justified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

Have I triggered your arachnophobia?

I like spiders, especially jumping spiders (like in the photo.) Jumping spiders are the spider version of puppies. Friendly and cute.

Jeff said...

So, like, when you eat half your donut, where does the hole go?

mikee said...

Honeycomb and other precisely perfect symmetrical patterns have always been attractive to me. And I raised honey bees, and know that sometimes there are wriggling critters in those hexagonal tubes.

Fernandistein said...

I like spiders, especially jumping spiders (like in the photo.)

That's almost certainly an 'orb weaver', not a jumping spider.

Fernandistein said...

That's almost certainly an 'orb weaver', not a jumping spider.

Oops wrong spider picture, this one is a jumper. I used to photograph their little faces with a reversed 28mm lens on a bellows.

Wince said...

...a fear of clusters of small holes...

Similarly, I feel revulsion every time I see or hear from a group of assholes.

rhhardin said...

Theories of evolutionary edibility have to explain Chinese cuisine.

Fernandistein said...

It’s all camera from r/trypophobia

Here's the one post about the actual camera:

"Posted byu/FiorinasFury
56 minutes ago

Does the new iPhone creep you out? Scientists grapple with why tiny holes scare some people."


No comments, the poster is not creeped out, and nobody else seems to be creeped out except ....

Whappo: “The new iPhone is creeping me ... out with the 3 little cameras,” one Twitter user wrote.

Is that "one twitter user" the only person bothered by the phone, hence worthy of national news because he is unique?

Freeman Hunt said...

Make the square area with the lenses black. Problem solved.

Art in LA said...

In the WaPo quote, “mathematical principals” should be “mathematical principles” right? I hope most principals are mathematical though 😂

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I like it, it looks like a well placed 3 shot .45 ACP group.

Phidippus said...

Now wait a minute, Professor. You have embedded a picture of a member of the Salticidae, which are known for their prominent anterior median eyes... like certain AVATARS around here, and used it as an example of something that would upset a miniscule fraction of humans who have a bizarre phobia.

If harmless little jumping spiders aren't welcome in these parts I CAN TAKE A HINT.

And let me give a shout-out to Mary Beth (the commenter) for her appreciation of these fascinating creatures. Here's an article for Mary Beth and those of a similar persuasion illustrating their incredible visual abilities, and apparent ability to plan a course of action (!): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267938733_A_review_of_the_ethology_of_jumping_spiders_Araneae_Salticidae

Not bad for an animal that weighs 20 milligrams.

On another topic: Once again, WaPo triggers my fingernails-on-the-blackboard response with this gemlike solecism: "the mathematical principals hidden in the patterns".

Mathematical "principals" like say Gauss, Euler, or Cauchy? I didn't spot them. Maybe they meant "mathematical principles".

What they need is a copy editor with a red pen.

Phil 314 said...

I was struck by the appearance of the three cameras, not because of trypophobia but because it looked a little ugly and not in keeping with the Apple style.

Tom T. said...

I guess these people don't ever go bowling?

mockturtle said...

My younger daughter is a confirmed trypophobe. If I send her photos of rock formations, they'd better not be full of holes.

Yancey Ward said...

Pretty sure that is a different Chuck.

Leland said...

Limbaugh is leading with this after announcing slow news day. Democrat Presidential candidates and their debates hardest hit.

MadisonMan said...

Why is the fact that people are upset about a consumer product news?

JohnAnnArbor said...

It falls into the category of first-world problems. I'd guess someone with anxiety over such an issue in a third-world country would get over it pretty fast as I doubt their issue would be accommodated, and eventually the brain will realize "there's no threat here" and chill out.

Fernandistein said...

I was struck by the appearance of the three cameras, not because of trypophobia

I doubt that's actually happening with this phone - it's not much different than part of a car grill/front-end, dual headlights and a turn signal.

Here's a guy who claimed that he was "nauseous all afternoon" from looking at pictures of the iPhone. It was so awful that he puts up and describes more pictures of the phone that made him feel bad, along with a bunch of far worse pictures. Right.

but because it looked a little ugly and not in keeping with the Apple style.

I wonder if they were trying to make it NOT look like a goofy face.

My diagnosis: fake news.

Fernandistein said...

My younger daughter is a confirmed trypophobe

Do pictures of this 3-lens iphone set her off?

mockturtle said...

Do pictures of this 3-lens iphone set her off?

Probably. I'll ask her.

Big Mike said...

I like spiders, especially jumping spiders (like in the photo.) Jumping spiders are the spider version of puppies. Friendly and cute.

They were the stars of the movie “Eight Legged Freaks.” A classic!

Skylark said...

I have to admit that the pics are mildly unsettling. Not like a spider crawling on your neck unsettling, or mouse running up your pantleg unsettling (yes that happened). It’s more unsettling than a big tree frog staring at you, stuck to the bathroom window, less unsettling than a bluegill biting on your nipple when you are swimming in a lake.. (yes, that happened.)

Roy Lofquist said...

We used to look for these guys on payday and invite them to a friendly game of Muggins.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muggins

ALP said...

What does it mean when you have the opposite reaction - fascination? I love drawing groups of circles, honeycomb shapes. They fascinate me.

Rockport Conservative said...

It seems everyone is stuck on the iPhone eyes, lenses, and fascinations and aversions.
I couldn't get past the retch, wretch, and thought of Richard Fernandez, Wretchard, one of my favorite bloggers at Belmont Club since way before PJMedia. The mind of that man has my attention.

MadTownGuy said...

Combined with tomorrow's date will some people be affected with triskaidekatrypophobia?

Phidippus said...

You've had an interesting life, it seems, Skylark.

I don't like things walking on my neck or crawling up my pants either, much less biting me. That's not a phobia in my book.

Speaking of tree frogs, I was sitting on the deck last month with the umbrella up. I noticed a gray tree frog climbing up the pole to his spot on one of the struts. I figured it was a tree frog because of its big flat toe pads and the relative ease that he made it up the pole.

I looked it up, and it's called a "Gray Tree Frog".

That reminded me of the time I was hiking in the woods and I startled a slender little green snake. Looking that up, it was named a "Green Snake".

I could have figured those out myself.

Separately, if spiders and bluegills like you that much, I'd stay away from places that have snapping turtles in them.

Phidippus said...

ALP said: "I love drawing groups of circles, honeycomb shapes. They fascinate me."

That's perfectly fine, ALP. As long as you don't seem to be harming yourself, you can continue doing that as long as you like.

JamesB.BKK said...

Ann, did you see The Professor and The Madman? I don't see it in search results here. It's about the creation of the first Oxford English Dictionary by two distinctly non-Oxfordians based on a book by Simon Winchester, with plenty if not sometimes too much dramatic flair. Recommended.

Regarding these disgusting images marketing American Horror Story mockingly displayed, there was a banning on the intertubes a few years ago and ongoing litigation and prosecution by amenable and subverted "law and order" and "justice" agencies for displaying images that at least one overstuffed media tool (and his excitable wife) claimed triggered his neural disorder. See for information Assault with a Deadly Twitter https://associatesmind.com/2018/06/06/assault-deadly-twitter-battery-by-gif/

JamesB.BKK said...

Don't know about all that fancy binomial nomenclature but I had a jumping spider friend in Spanish class in high school. He'd come hang out on my arm most every day for months, jumping and laying down some silk to soften the landing and for whatever else they do that for. Huge fan. All those eyes are second only in trying to imagine what they are seeing and processing to those of chameleons.

JamesB.BKK said...

Theories of evolutionary edibility have to explain Chinese cuisine.

Edibility follows availability.

Bunkypotatohead said...

There oughta be a law!

stlcdr said...

Is it a phobia of holes or things that look like holes? Because they aren’t holes. But then, what makes up a hole? How big or deep does a hole need to be to considered a hole? What about a small dimple, like on a golf ball? What if you paint all the dimples on a golf ball black?

mockturtle said...

Fernandistein asks re my daughter: Do pictures of this 3-lens iphone set her off?

For the record, yes.