Are you afraid of heights? Watch this video and see what you
think (but remember - don't try this at home -
even if you have access to a 1000 foot tall tower!):
How does it make you feel? Queasy? Butterflies in your tummy?
Some people can't watch it - it makes them feel sick, they get
sweaty palms and they start to hyperventilate.
A fear of heights is called acrophobia.
Acrophobia can range from fear when on the top floor of a tall
building, to fear of standing on a chair. People with acrophobia
feel a sense of panic when they're at a certain height and often
become unable to trust their sense of balance. Other symptoms can
include shaking, dizziness and nausea. That's a pretty extreme
reaction to standing on a chair!
Acrophobics feel a sense of
panic at certain heights and don't trust their sense of
But, if you're afraid of heights, maybe you should be happy.
You're evolutionarily successful! Some scientists think that
acrophobia is an inborn or innate
Why is acrophobia an evolutionary
Scientists think that a fear of heights is a successful
adaptation to our world, where falls from height are
dangerous. Experiments have shown that infants and young
children are naturally cautious around heights. This suggests that
people are born with a dislike of heights. However, most children
and adults are a bit nervous around heights, but they don't have a
phobia. Many scientists think that a phobia is a
learned response to either a parent's fear of heights or a
traumatic experience in childhood, like a fall.
Show the video to your parents and friends. How does it make
them feel? Are people more likely to be afraid of heights if their