French climber Alain Robert, aka Spider-Man, climbing a 448m-high building in 2007 (© Getty Images)

Why isn’t everyone afraid of heights?

Suffering from a little vertigo? While you might not have full-blown acrophobia, you might still suffer from height intolerance.

Asked by: Minnette Chambers, Andover


When we’re up high, the lack of nearby visual anchors makes our bodies sway automatically – this contributes to the dizzying sensation of vertigo. But most people aren’t afraid of heights, not in the sense of having ‘acrophobia’, which is when the mere thought of falling can bring on a panic attack. The rest of us are either height intolerant, height tolerant or height enjoying. Members of the last group have got used to, or even find pleasure in, the sensations brought on by heights, and many also get a thrill from the associated risks.


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