What's so special about slithering serpents? Children and adults rapidly detect snakes based on their simple features

@article{Lobue2011WhatsSS,
  title={What's so special about slithering serpents? Children and adults rapidly detect snakes based on their simple features},
  author={Vanessa Lobue and Judy S Deloache},
  journal={Visual Cognition},
  year={2011},
  volume={19},
  pages={129 - 143}
}
Snakes are among the most common targets of fears and phobias around the world. In visual search tasks, both adults and young children have repeatedly been found to visually detect snakes more rapidly than other kinds of stimuli. An important question that remains unstudied is what accounts for humans’ rapid response to snakes? Here we suggest that specific features of snakes themselves lead to their rapid detection. The results of five experiments suggest that a snake's shape is the crucial… 
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Other Types of Studies Showing that Snakes Hold Special Status in Threat Perception
  • N. Kawai
  • Psychology
    The Fear of Snakes
  • 2019
Abundant evidence has shown that human and nonhuman primates have perceptual biases for rapid detection of evolutionarily fear-relevant stimuli (snakes) in terms of threat perception using the visual
The Hidden Snake in the Grass: Superior Detection of Snakes in Challenging Attentional Conditions
TLDR
An advantage in snake detection is demonstrated under visual conditions known to impede detection of a wide array of common stimuli, for example brief stimulus exposures, stimuli presentation in the visual periphery, and stimuli camouflaged in a cluttered environment.
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