Are you Afraid of the Dark?
How fear works:
- Our brains retain memories of fearful experiences that can help us recognize potential threats.
- The heart pumps blood to the muscles faster and more forcefully because our large muscles may have to do an unusual amount of work during the fight-or-flight response.
The additional muscle tension is what causes the I shaking we attribute to fear.
Piloerection is the raising of the small hairs on our arms and legs when we get scared.
This response probably helped our hairier ancestors survive by making them look bigger to potential predators.
Another natural reaction to fear is sweat, the body's cooling system, in anticipation of running away or fighting.
- There are two pathways of differing lengths that fear signals follow within the brain:
1. The shorter path allows the signal to sound the fear alarm before we're even aware of the situation (fear signal).
The amygdala assesses whether a situation is dangerous, then fires signals to other parts of the brain. The so-called "hub" of fear lies in a peanut-sized part of the brain called the amygdala.
2. The other reaches the sensory cortex a fraction of a second later, reinforcing the fear response or declaring a false alarm.
A study on rats is shedding light on the sensation that isn't just an emotion, but a biological instinct designed to help us survive.
- One of the strangest side-effects of intense fear is time dilation, the apparent slowing-down of time
Objects seem to fall more slowly, and we’re capable of complex thoughts in what would normally be the blink of an eye.
But fear doesn't actually speed up our rate of perception or mental processing; instead, it allows us to remember what we do experience in greater detail.
Since our perception of time is based on the number of things we remember, fearful experiences thus seem to unfold more slowly.
- There are 530 officially recognized phobias
Phobias are known as an emotional response learned because of difficult life experiences, and the original fear is often repressed or forgotten.
Phobias are most common among women in all age groups and the second most common among men older than 25.
Approximately 19.2 million American adults have some type of phobia.
1 in 5 people (24% of women and 17% of men) have a fear of being in crowded or wide open areas. And 1/3 of Americans have suffered a panic attack
Women top fear are snakes.
Men are most afraid of being buried alive.
More people fear the IRS than they fear God (IRS - 57%, God - 30%).
Information provided by: HalloweenExpress.com
Design by Ellie Koning
Sources: http://www.sensitelligent.com/Develop%20yourself/fear%20book%20chapter.pdf; http://www.anxietyinsigths.info/genetic_factors_associated_with_fear_change_with_age.htm;
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2402604/Fear-Affects-Your-Life; http://jeffwise.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/how-the-brain-stops-time; http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97841&page=1;
http://fearexhibit.org/brin/wired; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear; http://www.nrgp-gambling-handbook.co.za/risk.htm/; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-