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P for Phobias (cross-post from P Series Talk)

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DVD Smith
1269374.  Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:07 pm Reply with quote

Tetraphobia: Triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13, is obviously quite well-known in the western world, but in East Asia, what's much more common is Tetraphobia - the fear of the number 4. This comes from the Chinese word for "four" sounding very similar to the word for "death" in a lot of Chinese languages and other East Asian languages. [1][2]

As a result, a lot of the same superstitious practices carried out by triskaidekophobiacs in the West are also done by tetraphobiacs in Asia. However, some get taken to extremes. The best example is in floors in high-rise buildings; as most people know, high-rise buildings in the West sometimes omit the 13th floor when numbering their storeys. Likewise, in Asia, they miss out the fourth floor - however, they don't just do that, they also miss out every single floor that has a 4 in it! [3] (In this picture, the lift buttons are missing 4, 14, and 24.) In high-rise cities, such as Hong Kong and Jakarta, this means there are skyscrapers that skip straight from the 39th floor to the 50th floor, as can be seen in this video.

There are a few buildings in London where this phenomenon is visible, including the Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate. Because it was built by a Hong Kong-based firm, they asked that the building skip straight from the third to the fifth floor. [4] Likewise, there are buildings in Hong Kong and Shanghai built by Western developers that are missing a 13th floor (in addition to missing a 4th and 14th floor like most Asian buildings). [5]

Much like Friday the 13th in the West, the fourth day of the month is considered to be unlucky, with the date of April 4th (4/4) considered to be extremely unlucky. A study published by the British Medical Journal in 2001 found that, in areas of the USA with large Chinese populations, deaths due to heart attacks were significantly more common on the fourth day of the month than on any other day.[6]

In April 2017, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus announced the OnePlus 5, the successor to the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T. Being a Chinese company, there is no OnePlus 4. [7]

Nomophobia: The word "nomophobia" was coined by the Royal Mail in 2008 to describe "the fear of having no mobile phone signal" (literally 'no-mobile-phobia'), [8] however, since the rapid proliferation and adoption of smartphones, the word's meaning has expanded to mean "the fear of being separated from your phone altogether".[9] (They might need a new neologism though, because "nomophobia" is also the fear of laws, from the ancient Greek "nomos" - a definition that dates back to at least 1857.) [10]

A 2012 UK survey of 1000 people found that approximately two-thirds possessed some form of nomophobia.[11] In 2015, Iowa State University developed an online test to determine if someone is nomophobic. [12] They used this test to perform a study of their own, which led to them concluding that fear of loss of a mobile phone could plausibly be listed as a real modern-day phobia according to the criteria laid out by the American Psychiatric Association. [13] (Page 75)

Windowed-envelope-phobia (real term unknown): In 2016 in Visseltofta, Sweden, a man was let off a traffic offence after claiming that he had a phobia of envelopes with windows in them. [14](Swedish) [15][16]

The man was arrested for drunk driving on his scooter, and when he appeared in court he was also charged with driving an unlicensed vehicle. He claimed that he did not know that his vehicle was unlicensed, as he assumed that he had submitted the correct paperwork when he had bought the scooter, and had been too scared to open the subsequent letters he had been sent by the government as they had come to him in windowed envelopes, which even the sight of would "result in severe anxiousness".

The court convicted him of the drunk driving, but cleared him of possessing an unlicensed vehicle, as they could not prove that he knowingly intended to violate the law.


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