Fear is a primal instinct that has plays a crucial role in the evolution and survival of every animal species. In our study, we will focus on vasovagal fainting episodes induced by viewing injections and wounds in persons with Blood-Inject-Injury Type Specific (BIITS) phobia. Reports of fainting reactions to fear-related stimuli are less than 0.1% across all phobias but reported in 100% of BIITS phobia patients (H. Stephan Bracha, 2004). In physiological terms, a BIITS phobia vasovagal fainting response consists of two phases. First there is a brief spike in heart rate and blood pressure. This increase is immediately followed by a dramatic decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, causing the person to lose consciousness (Diagnostic …show more content…
We propose exposing a group with subjects BIIST phobia and a control group to a series of six visual stimuli compilations over a period of several weeks. During the experiments, we will record BOLD responses, heart rate, and blood pressure levels while subjects view the stimulus videos. Heart rate and blood pressure will provide the information necessary to determine whether any physical responses occur as a result of the stimuli.
During the first session, we will develop a baseline for each subject by showing five unique visual stimulus compilations that contain no phobic material, i.e. photos or videos of wounds, injections, or other gore. During each of the subsequent sessions, one of the stimulus compilations shown during the first session will be repeated, but with short snippets of phobic stimulus sprinkled throughout. Session two will have phobic material shown in 50-millisecond segments. Sessions three, four, five, and six will show phobic material for 100, 500, 1000, and 30000 milliseconds, …show more content…
This study will also explore which perspectives (first, second, or third person) tend to cause people with BIIST phobia to faint the most frequently. If it turns out that one viewpoint does, in fact, have a greater influence on the frequency of fainting then that could have huge implications understanding consciousness.
Since there is an intrinsic link between this type of phobia-induced fainting and the medical and dental fields, the information discovered in this study could help professionals avoid catastrophic injuries caused by people suffering from BIIST. Avoiding such injuries in hospitals, and medical offices would decrease malpractice lawsuits, benefiting doctors and patients alike.
Andrea Hermann, Axel Schäfer, Bertram Walter, Rudolf Stark, Dieter Vaitl, Anne Schienle, Diminished medial prefrontal cortex activity in blood-injection-injury phobia, Biological Psychology, Volume 75, Issue 2, May 2007, Pages 124-130, ISSN 0301-0511,