Apple iPhone 11 camera cluster triggers some people’s 'fear of small holes'

Apple unveiled its new iPhone 11 devices in a blaze of publicity Tuesday, although images of the phones’ new camera cluster are apparently sparking some peoples’ trypophobia, or "fear of small holes."

The iPhone 11 has a new dual-camera lens cluster while the iPhone Pro and Pro Max feature a triple-lens cluster. The structure of the new camera clusters, which are next to the iPhone’s torch and microphone, has sparked a visceral response from some users on social media. Others reacted to the talk of iPhone 11-related trypophobia with skepticism.

The mental health website verywellmind describes trypophobia as an aversion to or fear of clusters of small holes, bumps, or patterns. “When people see this type of cluster, they experience symptoms of disgust or fear,” it explained. “Examples of objects that might trigger a fear response include seeds pods or a close up image of someone's pores.”

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Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about iPhone Pro during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about iPhone Pro during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Other trigger objects are said to include holes in diseased or decaying flesh and insect eyes.

“There is some debate among researchers as to whether trypophobia is a genuine condition,” verywellmind added. “Early reports of trypophobia were first described in an online forum in 2005, but it has not been recognized as a distinct diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.”

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In a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers found that images that induce trypophobia are typically associated with uncomfortable visual images.

“We argue that although sufferers are not conscious of the association, the phobia arises in part because the inducing stimuli share basic visual characteristics with dangerous organisms, characteristics that are low level and easily computed, and therefore facilitate a rapid nonconscious response,” the study said.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers