Why Do Humans Experience Fear?

Why Humans Experience Fear

Why Do Humans Experience Fear? Fear is a complex neurological behavior that was originally adapted to protect animals from threats in their external milieu. The primary driving force for the evolution of fear is predation. Physiologically, fear must include objectively observable behaviors as well as the signal or stimulus that generates the emotion. However, scientists still don’t know what causes human fear. The process is complex and still under study.

When we are presented with something frightening, our brain automatically triggers the fight-or-flight response. The amygdala, a region of the brain, interprets the perceived threat and sends signals to the rest of the brain. This response causes our hearts to beat faster, blood pressure to rise, and blood to circulate to our muscles so we can move. We also sweat to keep ourselves cool. Some people experience physical sensations in their hands, legs, and stomach. Depending on their fear level, these sensations may be mild or severe.

Scientists at the HMS are currently studying the neural mechanisms of the fear response to try to determine how we respond to danger. The research is critical for the development of effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and provides clues as to why certain people are more vulnerable to certain types of fear. They are also gaining insight into the role of gender in the fear response. If you want to learn more about why humans experience fear, read this article.