Call for Book Chapters – "Animal fears and phobias in humans: psychological and physiological perspectives"

Animal fear is a common phenomenon among humans affecting children and adults alike. Previous studies have found that up to 40% of children in Australia suffer from a fear of animals such as spiders and snakes. While in the USA, 22% of adults report fear of snakes and 13% report a fear of dogs.

In addition to the emotional response experienced with fear, a phobia includes a degree of functional impairment. Phobias have a lower prevalence in the general population compared to fear, but they are still quite common. Snakes and spiders have shown to modulate human attention processes in empirical psychological and psycho-physiological research, and as such, have been linked to the evolution of the human visual system. However, even though several theories and lines of research have been developed, there is no scientific consensus on the origin and biological mechanisms of snake and spider perception.

The scope of the present volume is within the realm of psychology and physiology of animal fears and phobias in humans. Although a plethora of scientific literature exists on the topic, there is a lack of a compendium in the field that can be used as a reference for future work. The present volume aims to combine the limitations of the methodologies previously used to investigate human fear empirically.

This volume wishes to be an inspiring read for junior researchers who would like an introduction to the scientific study of human fears/phobias and human emotions more generally.

Topics may include:

  • Empirical studies on the perception of animal stimuli linked the threat/fear
  • Evolutionarily perspectives on the perception of threats
  • Viewpoints and development on the theories of human fear
  • Discussion on the evolutionarily theories of human fear (e.g. the Snake Detection Theory)
  • Laboratory studies on human, primate, and mammal's perceptions of threatening animals
  • Empirical or theoretical study on snake and spider perception
  • Psychological and clinical research on animal fear/phobia
  • Reviews on the current status of the scientific literature

Academic fields:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry
  • Clinical/rehabilitation
  • Medicine
  • Biology
  • Zoology
  • Social Sciences

Deadline for proposals (abstract submission): January 31, 2021
Deadline for first drafts: April 30, 2021

How to submit your proposal:

Please submit a one-page proposal (200 words approx.) including an annotated summary and a short biographical note to email Simone Grassini (
An article that has been already published cannot be included.
Selected abstracts will be notified in February 2021, and full chapters should be submitted by May 31, 2021. Complete chapter lengths should be between 2500-6000 words. Longer contributions may be accepted upon agreement.


Page last updated on July 29th 2020. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.