New developments by researchers suggest that watching Spiderman and Ant-man movie clips can help in reducing spider and ant phobia symptoms by approximately twenty percent. Professor Ben-Ezra and Yaakov Hoffman of Bar-Ilan University exposed 424 subjects to "Spiderman" and "Antman" movie excerpts to see if spider and ant phobic symptoms would decrease. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Using Exposure Therapy
This particular therapy utilises neutral exposure to a phobic stimulus to prevent an irrational fear. One will stop experiencing the fear after he or she has been regularly exposed to the phobic stimuli.
Though in cognitive behavioural therapies it’s hard to find the use of positive exposure like in this case excerpts from Marvel movies.
How the movie helps in reducing phobia
In a study, showing a seven-second spider scene from "Spiderman 2" film reduced participants' post-viewing spider phobia (arachnophobia) symptoms score, relative to their pre-viewing score by 20 per cent.
The similar results were observed for ant phobia (myrmecophobia) when viewing a seven-second excerpt from the movie "Antman".
But, in the same manner a normal Marvel opening scene which is common to all marvel movie was screened but, then there was no noticeable reduction in the symptoms of phobia.
"This suggests that it was neither the calm (natural scene), nor the fun/fantasy associated with viewing a Marvel superhero movie, that was solely driving effects, but rather the specific exposure to ants and spiders in the context of a Marvel movie," the researchers noted.
According to the researchers, superhero movies may have many beneficial psychological attributes. "Such movies not only help people feel better about themselves, they provide a contra to hectic and stressful lives by showing us the true underlying spirit of one confronting his/her fears," they noted.