• Question: why do people get scared?

    Asked by leigha1234 to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Shane on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Another great question Leigh, you’ve really been making us work!

      Fear is a very complex emotion, probably one of our most basic and primal. Fear as an emotional response is based on things we feel will either hurt us or someone we care about. Fear as a biological response is based around the Fight or Flight reflex – a primal system in our body designed to protect us. When we sense emotional fear we have to make a choice – stay and “fight”, or else move and “flight”, or flee. To allow us be prepared for these decisions, our body produces adrenaline to ready our muscles, and increase our heart rate to allow us to be strong and quick!

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Another gem Leigha. I think you’re going to grow up to become a psychologist! (a person that studies behaviour and the human brain).
      Yep, fear has evolved as a very useful emotion. It is basically a reaction of our bodies to something we think is going to hurt us. The way evolution works, those races who were not afraid of the lion chasing them probably got eaten and did not pass their genes along to know to be scared!

      The cool thing about fear is that some of it is learned and other stuff we just know (for some weird reason, that you should try and answer in the future!)

      Take for example snakes. New born babies are not scared of snakes. Why would they be? They never seen a snake, and certainly have never been bitten by one. However, at some point in their growth, babies “just know” to be afraid of them! Crazy eh!? We can’t explain this either.