Ads for this season of 'American Horror Story' are giving people panic attacks  -- here's the science behind it

American horror story cultFX‘American Horror Story: Cult.’

An advertising campaign for the new season of “American Horror Story” has been giving people panic attacks with its disturbing, hole-covered imagery, and the underlying cause is a rare but intense feeling of disgust that scientists are still trying to figure out.

Trypophobia, this fear of clustered holes, bumps, and similar patterns, affects around 15% of the general population. 

Some researchers think that the fear is an evolutionary instinct ingrained in humans to avoid dangerous, hole-covered formations in nature, like bee-hives or other poisonous structures. 

In this season of “American Horror Story: Cult,” actress Sarah Paulson’s character suffers from trypophobia, and as CNN notes, her overwhelming fear in the first episode of holes in her souffle and a piece of coral in her therapist’s office has also affected viewers with the same condition.

One woman, Jennifer Adresen, told CNN that she had a “full-blown panic attack” with nausea upon seeing the show’s promotional posters for the first time. 

American horror story cultFXTrypophobia-inducing posters from the ad campaign for ‘American Horror Story: Cult.’

Many people have since taken to Twitter to complain about the show’s preoccupation with holes as a triggering mechanism. Some have even diagnosed themselves as having trypophobia. 

“American Horror Story: Cult” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

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