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good job

Posted by pbio on 07 May 2009 at 22:28 GMT

Author: Piotr Nizynski
Submitted Date: December 26, 2008
Published Date: January 2, 2009
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

This only confirms my theory of what fear at bottom is. First, it is the original state of chaotic reaction, something close to crying or laughing (they're close to each other...maybe the latter is weaker) in a just-born child. In such chaotic state neurons between sensoric and motoric centres are connected randomly, or anyway not yet much organized. (Similarly, when you are angry, then - thanks to change in neuromodulators - certain less trained and more primitive, i.e. close to that chaos, sides of your personality might appear in the foreground. So you see how these emotional states are all close in the beginning.)

As one gets trained and grown up, the brain learns to handle most common situations: this is why chicks don't escape when they see more common, i.e. harmless, birds. But when a stimula is completely unhandled by other ways, it apparently ends up going through those primary & still existing primitive tracks in the cerebrial cortex (and whatever else is plastic in the brain).

Another thing, of course, is reluctance and all this "intellectual fear," which in man follows from memory. You don't do something instantly, because you think: thinking inhibits action. And you think in this situation, because many associations arised in your brain during, for example, sudden pain (like when burning oneself) and especially in the phase after. You acted and thought much at that moment (because of much stimula from the pheripheral system and probably much autonomous reaction), and that's why many memories arised then.

(Besides, animals and men are less reluctant to taking actions and risk, so in short more couragous, when dopamine levels are higher, but that's already completely another story.)

Of course, there are also these mechanisms with adrenaline/PEA's, and the whole limbic system; but I'd say their role here is more rudimentary, for example they might instinctively react on sounds, sudden movements, stimula etc., and produce chemicals in response to them (I think it is generally known that diencephalon is the residence of instincts, inborn "programs", and hormone production).

No competing interests declared.