Are you afraid of spiders? You aren’t alone. (Well, except when it’s just you and the spider.)

Across the world, somewhere between 3% and 15% of the population is afraid of something. That’s the headline finding in a new review published in The Lancet Psychiatry. But they found so much more.

The authors, led by Dr. William Eaton of Johns Hopkins University, reviewed the existing literature on phobias to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon.

But first, it should be noted that our society casually and often improperly deploys the word phobia, usually in highly emotional and politically charged situations. The terms homophobia and xenophobia come to mind. However, phobias have nothing to do with personal or political beliefs. Instead, as the authors write, a phobia “requires unreasonable fear associated with a specific object or situation, avoidance of the object or situation, persistence of the fear over time, and clinically significant distress or impairment associated with the fear, or avoidance.”

– Alex Berezow

Read more: Phobias Predict Mental Health Problems

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