In 2001, a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General concluded that our brains are hard-wired to identify and fear snakes. Just last year, a study by anthropologist Lynne Isbell found that neurons in a specific area of the brains of Japanese macaque monkeys responded more quickly and strongly to snake images. The crazy thing? Those monkeys had been sheltered inside a high enclosure. They had never in their lives been exposed to a snake. So it appears we are genetically predisposed to spend money on movies about snakes inside commercial airliners.
“It’s important to be able to see them before they see us so we can stop in time to do that acrobatic jumping away,” Isbell said.
The anthropologist’s research has just been confirmed by Luke Rockhold and Mike Swick. In this video, both men see some snakes, experience a jolt to their pulvinar neurons, and jump away like prehistoric school girls.