Automatonophobia: The causes, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment

Updated on November 9th, 2021

Human beings are scared of several things, and such a fear is typically referred to as “phobia.” Here we will be looking at a phobia regarding figures that are developed to represent human likeness. We will be showing you causes, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and other things you need to know about the term “automatonophobia.”


What is Automatonophobia?

Automatonophobia is the fear of humanoid robots, wax figures, audio-animatronics, or any figure developed to represent human likeness. This fear hardly ever ends up creating a total-blown trauma, but in some rare cases, it does. It is also in human nature, however, to have some form of feat for such figures.

Causes of This Phobia

As of this write-up, a clinical diagnosis hasn’t confirmed what exactly causes the phobia. It could all just boil down to human behavior. It is very normal for someone not to trust figures that stare silent and have blank expressions.

Furthermore, the skill level of the maker will significantly affect how one views the figure. Most automatons nowadays look very life-like, but on close inspection, they are quite a bit off.

The engineers who design these structures know their shortcomings; therefore, most put their items on shelves where lighting favors them. Other means are the use of dim lights, colored lights, sports lights, and the likes.

Based solely on research, however, there are two leading causes of this phobia. If automatonophobia presents itself due to traumatic incidents related to human-looking figures, it is known as experiential phobia. This event, for example, could be seeing human-like structures when you go to the amusement park or seeing life-sized representations of stuffed animals at a playhouse.

When this phobia develops outside the realms of a traumatic event, it is known as non-experiential phobia. This phobia on its own has a few factors that might cause it, namely:

1. Genetic makeup:

Naturally, having a family member/ family member with a history of this disease will translate into one having the likelihood of it being passed down. That, however, is no fault of the individual, and they should seek therapy as fast as possible.

2. Environment:

Just the mere mention of anything animatronics might make some people jump out of their boots. People attach negative images of events like that to their subconscious. Even the slightest push could lead them into a full-blown breakdown.

The environment a human being also stays in a while growing up can affect how they view these figures.

3. Development

That might be a bit shocking to find out, but, in most cases, this phobia is said to be found in individuals whose brains were formed and developed too early.

One study found out that some types of phobias are related to specific genes, which will, in turn, leave people susceptible to various forms of anxiety disorders throughout their lives.


When you decide to go to a doctor to diagnose what phobia you might be having, the doctor will first run some exams to ensure that no underlying conditions are causing your anxiety. Once that is determined, diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), are employed. Under this criteria, it can be determined you have automatonophobia if:

1. You possess an irrational fear towards any human-like figure that comes your way.

2. Seeing figures like this induce panic attacks or anxiety attacks.

3. There is no level of proportion between your fear and the threat these figures pose to you in real life.

4. You do everything in your power to avoid any situation where you’ll find yourself in the same room as one of these figures.

5. Your day-to-day functionality has reduced, thanks to this fear drastically.

6. You’ve had this fear constantly for over six months.

7. After examination, it is found that there are no underlying conditions that could cause this phobia.


This fear tends to rear its ugly head in different ways. The fears vary; some might be scared of just ordinary dolls, while others are scared of wax illustrations. Some even go as far as being scared of going to some events and places because they fear that animatronics will come for them.

People who have automatonophobia have had cases of heart palpitations, headache, crying, tremors, and many more physiological conditions that arise when you face your fears. You are scared to enter places with automatons. If you accidentally contact the one, you might end up sprinting in the opposite direction, freezing on the spot, or disappearing.


Automatons are primarily considered as the shining light in advancing the technology of tomorrow. You hardly go to a place where these items aren’t displayed in one form or the other. Failure to overcome your fears could make you very socially awkward, and the rest of society might isolate you.


You can quickly treat this phobia if it’s addressed at the right time and with the proper form of therapy. The therapist’s treatment course will depend on the symptoms the patient is feeling, how severe it is, and its path in the client’s system already.

The most common form of therapy that has been employed in battling this phobia in recent times is Cognitive-behavioral therapy. That will assist in replacing irrational thoughts with much improved ones.

During this process, they might also introduce you to a form of therapy called “systematic desensitization,” where you are taught to master your fears by gradually introducing those fear agents. They could also introduce you to methods to reduce stress, such as relaxation exercises(yoga). When you want to go into this form of therapy, always make sure it’s a therapist you trust and one with an excellent success rate.


Like any other disorder or phobia, automatonophobia may sound somewhat weird to some persons but is an absolute nightmare for those who go through it. However, that is where the good news comes in, as it is relatively easy to handle if a correct and quick diagnosis is made. Please don’t wait till it’s too late; you can book an appointment with one of the best therapists in your area.

For Elizabeth, mental health is a personal story. She is an author who provides innovative, creative, and engaging content on topics such as stress management, emotional wellness, relationships, etc. She enjoys creating a useful content to empower people and uses personal experience to help others on their journey to recovery.

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