Also known as ‘Gnosiophobia’ this phobia is defined as the morbid and irrational ‘fear of knowledge’ or ‘fear of wisdom‘.

Some cases are afraid of gaining knowledge in general and some might be afraid of gaining knowledge about a particular topic (like life threatening diseases) or person.


The causes vary from person to person. Mostly the trigger lies in an extremely traumatic experience usually at a very early age.

Sometimes epistemophobia can be related to other psychological conditions like schizophrenia.  A schizophrenic can be delusional that he has a lot of knowledge and so would fear gaining more, or may be a delusion that others would steal his knowledge from his brain can trigger epistemophobia.

In each case it is important to know the cause of fear, in order to rule out other medical conditions for proper treatment.

Sometimes people like to live in denial or are too scared to face the reality so they fear knowledge for example, A mother might not be able to accept the terminal illness of her child, and so might fear any knowledge related to the illness.


Depending on the intensity of the fear the symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms are avoidance of schools, books, newspapers, educating television shows, intellectual conversations, etc.

When forced to gain knowledge the sufferer can show following symptoms:

  1. Panic and distress
  2. Increased heart rate
  3. Palpitations
  4. Dizziness
  5. Trembling
  6. Chills
  7. Sweating, etc.


Cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, exposure therapy works well.  The patient needs to learn that learning is an important and essential part of living.

I have a phobia of ‘epistemophobia’.

          Vidhi Pipara Adolescent Psychologist – Guidance on personal or psychological problems in Ahmedabad,Gujarat and India.

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