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Liverpool Hope University scientists want public’s help to understand why spiders make people scared

science week spiders Tuesday 1 March 2016

Scientists at Liverpool Hope University are asking the public to help them discover exactly why snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies make some people scared.

The experiment, open to all ages, is one of a range of free family activities taking place at Liverpool Hope University during British Science Week 2016 (14th-18th March 2016).

Other events at Liverpool Hope for the whole family include a falconry display, an animal encounters display, a family bat tracking evening, free health MOTs (over 18s) and the chance to use specialist tracking technology to find the Easter Bunny who will be hiding somewhere on campus. Full listings 

There will also be robot demonstrations, screenings of modern and classic Sci Fi films and talks from bioscientists, computer scientists, nutritionists, psychologists and sports scientists.

The power of the human brain will be the subject of a day-long drop-in lecturethon on Tuesday 15th March, which will also raise money for The Brain Charity.

Most of the activities will be based at the university’s new £8.5 million Health Science building or within the university grounds. Schools are also being invited to work closely with scientists and try hands-on experiments.   

The animal phobia experiment, called ‘What really frightened Little Miss Muffet?’ will run from Monday to Wednesday.

Participants of all ages can put on specialist eye tracking glasses and will be asked to look at pictures of the creatures they know they are scared of. The glasses will track what parts of the creature the person’s eyes are drawn to first, and how they react.

Carl Larsen, Senior Lecturer in Biology, said: “People may say that one thing about a spider scares them - perhaps the ‘fangs’ – but the eye tracker may tell us something else! We’re also interested in finding out if different things about the creatures scare us at different ages, and whether our fear is innate or learned, which is why the experiment is open to all ages. Understanding what makes us scared might help us overcome our fears.

“We have put our British Science Week programme together with the whole family in mind. We want to get as many people as possible excited about Science and show how it is part of our everyday life.”   

All events are free. View full listings and book your free place here: www.hope.ac.uk/britishscienceweek 

For more information contact LARSENC@hope.ac.uk 0151 291 3097

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