I can't decide if this is real or not

It’s very convincing, but how could it possibly be for real?


Well there’s a lot of phobias out there.

I don’t think for a moment she was acting. But her problems may be more than just not liking pickles - I think it could be one manifestation of a much wider mental problem.

The big question is, why the hell would she agree to go on such an obviously exploitative program? With such an asshole for a presenter: “stop shakin”. It would have been nice to see some explication from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

(Did you note she’s also scared of mustard?)

List of phobias.

Plenty to choose from.

I know it’s hard to imagine something like this, but when you take a look at how phobias are perpetuated, it makes sense. Everyone remember the old stimulus response model? What most likely happened is she had some bad experience (unconditioned stimulus) that caused her great fear (unconditioned response.) No doubt by some stroke of randomness, pickles were present, and her brain tucked that little factoid away (the pickles in this case would be the conditioned stimulus, as she had to ‘‘learn’’ to be afraid of them.) Now whenever she sees a pickle, she experiences the conditioned response of terror. Every time she sees a pickle and avoids it, her anxiety is reinforced. So the response just gets even more exaggerated.

In fact, after her experience on the Maury show, she is probably more terrified of pickles than she has ever been, because she experienced extreme terror and the terror only went away once the pickles were taken away. The only way for her to get over her fear is to confront the conditioned stimulus in the absence of danger. She will have to learn through repeated exposure that pickles are not dangerous. Because of the piss-poor approach of the host, this is sadly unlikely to happen for her.

I am always interested to see weird phobias like this, because I have some more mainstream phobias myself, and I always think, ‘‘If her extreme terror is completely irrational, as I know it is, then maybe mine is too.’’ It kind of takes the bite out of my own fears.

My wife has aichmophobia (fear of needles) but her fear is pretty rational as phobias go: She had one break off in her arm when she was young. That’s not a pretty sight; I was with her when she was in the hospital going for a CT scan and was having contrast injected (or whatever it was), when the host attached to the needle slipped; there was a lot of blood spillage, both from the host and the still-inserted needle. Fortunately she couldn’t see as she was lying down on a gurney, but if she could I think her fear would have increased tenfold.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this woman’s fear of pickles was real. Maury is another one of those exploitative shows that actively searches out things that get people talking, and if it’s not the white trash who’s-the-baby-daddy show of the week, it’s people with weird problems. I’ve no idea why the people they find agree to go on a trashy show like that, especially when there’s absolutely no medical or psychological value in the expose.

Ha! “Bite.” CRUNCH Now that’s a Vlasic™!

I’m ever so sorry.

Are you implying that you have no little quirks that some people would find unbelievable?

The part of the show you’re not seeing is that they take a commercial break and then the people go talk to a psychiatrist. By the time the show is over, they’re cured of their phobia. It’s filmed with the same audience so it’s not an overnight or over-weeks thing either.

That’s why it’s got to be an act. I mean, I can buy that there are these phobias out there but can they be cured in a half hour? No way, man. And Maury’s not usually such an insensitive jerk like that. If these were real people, he wouldn’t be harassing them so much, I’m sure.
And jjimm, the mustard girl is the one in the middle chair, not the pickle girl.

For the money, of course.

People’s brains can be broken in any number of ways, I don’t see how this is any less plausible than any other phobia. It does seem ridiculous at first glance, but her brain is damaged in a very subtle way.

I have met someone like the pickle lady. It wasn’t pickles but she was absolutely terrified of cats. We had a cat and when the lady (a friend of my mom’s) would visit, we’d have to confine the cat to another room. We found out the first time she came over. She went into a panic attack and started crying like she was being haunted by demons…

This seems like a thread for whichever user it was let slip in a post a few weeks ago that he/she was a former “producer” on Springer or something like that. It was suggested that he do a “Ask a Former Springer Producer” thread (I know I’d have things to ask), but they declined. Whoever that was, we need you here!