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The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects Hardcover – October 28, 2013

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199930197 ISBN-10: 0199930198 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"In The Infested Mind, Lockwood shifts from entomology to psychology to examine the fascination that first drew him to insects and the terror that later repelled him. His exploration of our complex relations with these critters makes for an engrossing book. For the entomophobic reader especially, the experience is at times thrilling (watch out for the photos!) and therapeutic." --Scientific American MIND


"Lockwood (natural sciences & humanities, Univ. of Wyoming; Six-Legged Soldiers) begins with his own nightmare experience with a locust swarm and proceeds to analyze thoroughly human reactions to insects and spiders. He explores the differences between fear and disgust, both of which help protect us from potential danger and harm... VERDICT: For all who have responded to insects -- entomophobes, entomophiles, or in between -- as well as psychologists and parents." --Library Journal


"By drawing upon the works of Dali, Kant and Jung (amongst others), Lockwood reveals the psychology of our fears and disgust of arthropods. Central to this argument is the idea that human beings are culturally malleable creatures operating within certain evolutionary constraints. Leave it also to Lockwood to examine entomophobia and biophilia in such a reflexive, provocative and engaging fashion, while elucidating the role of the negative sublime in human-arthropod encounters." --Raynald Harvey Lemelin, Lakehead University Research Chair in Parks and Protected Areas, Lakehead University


"A tour-de-force account of the myriad ways that insects and their kin repel, disgust, terrify, and yet paradoxically attract and fascinate humans, irrespective of time and place." --May Berenbaum, Head of Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


"The book's exploration of the science, driven by Lockwood's quest to understand himself, is easy to follow and fascinating." --Nature Conservancy


"In many ways The Infested Mind challenges the reader to acknowledge his or her own phobias and assess the rationality of these conditions, be it entomophobia or another fear. However, it does this in a lighthearted and entertaining way. The anecdotes used by Lockwood are amusing and the content never stagnates on one topic. The book is also an eye opener, highlighting the pervasive nature of phobias in the modern world (phobic individuals are more common now than ever before). The Infested Mind would be an appealing read for a wide audience as it is engaging and easily absorbed, while providing relevant information that has a basis in robust scientific studies. Individuals with an interest in phychology may find this book particularly interesting." -- Biological Conservation


About the Author


Jeffrey Lockwood is Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities at the University of Wyoming and author of Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199930198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199930197
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.5 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a textbook, however, it does use many technical terms, not about specific insects, but about the human psychological response to insects and spiders. Each chapter includes extensive notes.

In his prologue, he tells of a frightening, up-close encounter he had with a massive horde of grasshoppers. As an entomologist (one who studies insects), he has had a longtime fascination with insects, but on that day, he felt fear and disgust.

The book begins with a chapter that defines anxiety, fear, and phobia (includes a short list of terms for insect-related phobias.) He explains that our feelings about insects are partly a result of our personal experiences and partly due to our heredity. He lists characteristics of insects that provoke fear and another list of characteristics that trigger disgust. He goes on to say, that the physiological reactions one experiences when one is disgusted are the same as those when one experiences love. He classifies nature lovers affections into 9 categories.

When it comes to treating psychological problems related to insects, he lists 5 techniques therapist commonly use. He writes about how people can be convinced that they or their surroundings are infested with nonexistent insects. He provides insight on how exterminators and beekeepers overcome their sense of fear and disgust in their jobs.

If you are one who likes to read in bed, suggest you jump to the last chapter and read it first - it's about bed bugs . . . .

Readability: good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VenusVal Hammack on May 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this for friend who was interested in the subject on a non-college-level hand I felt very comfortable with the writing and the presentation of the subject matter
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Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting book, but it most certainly does not throw any light on why humans loathe insects. It's really about phobias and psychotherapy, including paranoia, obsession with insects and even erotic thoughts focusing on insects. The book sees significance in connecting disgust and fear. The overall feel a reader is likely to experience, if you manage to finish the book (I did), is that it is largely a set of examples of human mental illness that somehow has a connection with feelings about insects.
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