Why Humans Experience Fear
Researchers have studied how the amygdala reacts to threatening stimuli. They have studied what happens when subjects are exposed to a specific aversive stimulus and are then placed in situations that cause them to experience fear. While this may be helpful information for understanding the causes of the fear response, more research is needed to determine the most accurate and reliable model of the brain’s reaction to a particular threatening stimulus.
The primary region of the brain responsible for fear is the amygdala. This region contains several nuclei of the limbic system. The lateral nucleus receives input from the thalamus and cortex, while the central medial and lateral nuclei project to the hypothalamus. This area is responsible for the release of the stress hormone cortisol. This study has shown that certain fears are more prevalent in women than men.
This response is complex, and scientists are trying to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate the nervous system. Once they figure out the mechanisms, researchers can develop treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and prevent suicide. They’re also working to understand gender differences in fear responses. For example, men may experience fear more intensely than women, and women’s responses may differ. However, scientists say that fear is a natural part of life.