Thursday, March 11, 2010

Concerning Mycophobia

A friend of mine is mycophobic. She is afraid of seeing living mushrooms and couldn't handle them as cooking ingredients, but she can eat them when they are cooked.

I am curious about the exact etiology of mycophobia, but it is not well-documented in the literature. I rarely find any scholarly discussion on mycophobia.

Many suggests maybe mycophobia has a cultural basis. My guess is that mycophobia should not be memetic. It should have a genetic basis. It should be hardwired in the DNA program and is transferrable to the next generation. Although this function is no longer very useful in the modern world.

In the long history of human evolution, some groups of human, possibly living in a region surrounded by many poisonous species of fungi, must have evolved the defense mechanism to avert fungi species, for the fear of consumption of deadly mushroom species. This DNA trait is important for the survival of that particular human groups.



I offer two hypotheses on the mechanism of mycophobia:

1. There exists certain mushroom-neurons in the amygdala CPU of the brain specialize in mediating the reaction of a mycophobic person. Normal person does not have this type of extra neurons.

2. There exists some additional "mushroom-fearing" cross-wiring from the visual CPU to the amygdala CPU of the brain, causing the emotional processor to react negatively towards live mushrooms. Normal person does not have this additional cross-wiring.

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