Why Humans Experience Fear

Why Humans Experience Fear

In the quest for an explanation for why humans experience fear, psychologists have sought to understand the physiological response to threats. Fear is a neural-behavioral system, a response to danger that evolved to protect animals against external threats. The main driver of fear evolution is predation. As a result, the nervous system has to include both the signals that give rise to fear and the corresponding objectively observable behaviors.

Interestingly, rodents and humans have similar brain structures and behaviors, indicating that their defenses have evolved through convergent evolution. Moreover, we can reconstruct the neural circuitry regulating fear and other emotions using behavioral clues. In the long run, this enables scientists to construct causal chains. Moreover, the research has also provided a comprehensive definition of fear, which consists of six aspects. The authors recommend that researchers apply this definition to understand the biological basis for fear.

The study also revealed that a bundle of fibers connects the pyramis region of the cerebellum and the PAG. Messages running along these paths cause animals to freeze in fright. Scientists hope that these discoveries will help develop better treatments for anxiety disorders. In the meantime, they hope to understand how phobias arise and what can cause them. While the causes of these disorders remain unclear, the authors hope that the findings will aid their research in advancing treatment for anxiety disorders.

The first step in the process is the perception of the threat. Information flows in from sensory inputs to limbic circuits, which process threat imminence and importance. Then the limbic signals link sensory processing to action selection. In other words, fear is an intermediate stage between perception and action. It is a complex process that determines the salience and valence of a given situation. This process involves the use of three different psychological processes, known as valence, importance, and salience.