Acrophobia: Fear of Heights.


By T. V. Antony Raj


Acrophobia (from the Greek: ákron, meaning “peak, summit, edge” and phóbos, “fear”) is an extreme or irrational fear of heights.

Most people, including me, have a natural fear of heights. This fear is known as “the fear of falling“, and those who have a “head for heights” have no such fear.

Here is another video of the humorus swimming pool scene from the episode “The Curse of Mr Bean”  wherein Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson)  elucidates the fear of falling from a high place.



The fear of falling

Researchers have found that not only humans even in many mammals, including domesticated animals and pets the fear of heights is an instinct. Experiments with visual cliffs have shown human infants and toddlers, as well as animals of various ages, are reluctant in stepping on a glass floor with a view of a few meters of clear fall-space below it.

Though an inborn cautiousness about heights is helpful for survival, an extreme fear of heights can inhibit the activities of everyday life, such as climbing a ladder, walking up a flight of stairs or even standing on a chair for a while.

Here is a video that illustrates the “fear of falling”.



Head for heights

Head for heights is particularly necessary for those who climb mountains and hike on mountainous terrain, steeplejack craftsmen who scale buildings, chimneys and church steeples to carry out repairs or maintenance, mechanics who scale mobile and TV transmitting towers, etc.

In the following video, tower climber Kevin Schmidt ascends to the very top of the now inactive KDLT TV analog broadcast 475 metres (1558.4 feet) tall antenna near Salem, South Dakota, United States. I would suggest watching the video at 1080 HD in full screen to feel the experience.




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