Outsmarting Our Primitive Responses to Fear
What scares you? Terrorism? Climate change? Snakes? Germs?
Whether it makes you buy a handgun or hand sanitizer, an electric car or an electric fence, fear drives much of human behavior. And it’s not just fear of physical harm that makes us want to hide under the covers. The twin fears of intimacy and rejection, for example, shape many of our social interactions.
Scientists say fear and its companion — the fight, flight or freeze response — can save us when faced with imminent physical harm.
This served us well when we were cave dwellers, under constant threat from marauding wild animals or invading warrior tribes. But it can often get in our way in modern life.