Why Humans Experience Fear
If you’ve ever wondered why humans fear things, the answer to that question lies in the brain. Physiological changes associated with fear include increases in heart rate and breathing rate, constrictions of peripheral blood vessels, and muscle tension. These changes are all related to the fight-or-flight response. The three components of this system are linked to the selection of actions, which is the primary function of fear. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore these different circuits and their role in the process of human fear.
The first class of stimuli is the most important for fear processing. The amygdala and specialized neural structures in the hippocampus are important for this process. The amygdala and the hypothalamus are involved in processing information about fear. These encapsulated processing streams are responsible for triggering different kinds of physical reactions in the body. The brain sends signals to activate the nervous system, and the result is a physical response. These physical responses occur because blood is pumped to muscle groups for physical action. Furthermore, the skin sweats to keep the body cool. Other physical sensations associated with fear may occur in the abdomen, chest, hands, and legs.
The brain’s reaction to fear is a response to a stimulus that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. The brain sends signals to different parts of the body, including the heart, which increases blood pressure. The body also experiences bodily sensations in the hands, legs, and stomach. The brain then creates memory-based expectations that lead to the physical response. The resulting physical reaction is a result of the mind’s fear processing.