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Fear Conditioning: How the Brain Learns about Danger
by Joanna Schaffhausen
In the 1970s, researchers Paul Ekman, Wallace Friesen and Carroll Izard became interested in whether emotions differ across cultures, so they showed photographs of emotional expressions to people around the world to determine if a smile means the same thing in San Francisco as it does in Samoa. They found that everyone recognized an upturned mouth as the universal sign of happiness, and there was similar agreement about expressions of surprise, anger, disgust, sadness and fear. This impressive degree of accord among diverse cultures suggests that the basic emotions are automatic and preprogrammed, but the task of determining the underlying neural circuitry of emotions has been difficult. Fear has been a particularly attractive candidate for study because it has easily-measured physical correlates such as increased heart rate and release of stress hormones. From minor apprehension to stark terror, fear helps us make associations that keep us from harm. Fear learning is quick, powerful and long lasting. If you think back to your childhood, chances are good that within your earliest memory is an event colored by fear.
Originally posted by Dock6
I've been beaten to the point my legs could no longer hold me up...
biff bam thump
...pulled out of the open door of a railway carriage.
I've run headlong through unknown territory in darkness in the middle of a violent thunderstorm and -- but for a flash of lightning that revealed a deep, wide and wildly surging drainage canal -- would have been drowned and carried out to sea.
...voted Dock6 for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have used all of your votes for this month.