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Koumpounophobia is the term used to describe the phobia of buttons on clothing.[1] This phobia regularly leads to feelings of fear and disgust when sufferers are exposed to buttons either visually or physically.[2] It is estimated that less than one percent of the U.S. suffers from this phobia.[3] The most common forms of treatment for koumpounophobia are behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.[4]

Notable koumpounophobes[edit]

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., suffered from koumpounophobia. Some have speculated that his condition influenced the trend towards touch screens and virtual keyboards in the design of Apple devices.[5]

Koumpounophobia in popular culture[edit]

In 2009, popular author Neil Gaiman released a promotional teaser trailer for the film Coraline, based on his novella.[6] The trailer featured Gaiman addressing the nature of koumpounophobia and warning sufferers about the content of the film, which features characters with buttons in place of eyes.


  1. ^ Russell, Julia; Lintern, Fiona; Gauntlett, Lizzie; Davies, Jamie (September 24, 2016). Cambridge International AS and A Level Psychology Coursebook. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316605691 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Saavedra, LM, Silverman, WK, PH.D. 2002, “Case Study: Disgust and a Specific Phobia of Buttons”, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 41, Issue 11, Pages 1376-1379, accessed October 2010
  3. ^ "Koumpounophobia | AKB". sites.psu.edu. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  4. ^ Clarke, Greg. "Koumpounophobia". Gregology.
  5. ^ Anne, Jolis (22 November 2014). "Steve Jobs's button phobia has shaped the modern world". The Spectator. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Koumpounophobia HD". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21 – via www.youtube.com.