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Transcript of FEAR RESPONSE
Run or Stay?
The Two Paths
Fear in the Brain
High Load and Low Road
Fight or Flight
During the low road response, it 'shoots first, asks questions later', meaning it develops a reason from the stimulus, without questioning it. In the low road, the stimulus takes place, which sends the sensory data (what you're going through) to the thalamus, which, since you might be in danger, sends this information to the amygdala. The amygdala receives impulses and takes action to protect you, telling the hypothalamus to activate the fight or flight response.
The high road is more thoughtful then the low road. It considers all of the options and possibilities. Like the low road, sensory data is sent to the thalamus, but instead of sending the data to the amygdala, the thalamus sends this information to the sensory cortex, which interprets the meaning. It then determines if there is more than one possible interpretation of the data, and sends it to the hippocampus to establish the context. When the hippocampus is done determining the context, it then tells the amygdala that there is no danger, to which the amygdala tells the hypothalamus to shut off the fight or flight response.
There are many parts that are triggered during fear. Certain parts to the brain that play central roles during the fear process include the:
* Thalamus: decides where to send the sensory data
* Sensory Cortex: interprets the data
* Hippocampus: stores/takes in conscious memories
* Amygdala: determines the threat; stores the memory
* Hypothalamus: activates fight response
The fight or flight response (also known as the acute stress response) was first discovered by Walter Cannon in the 1920's. This is the response you get when something terrifying happens to you. This response releases hormones that tells your body whether to run away, or to stay and deal with the threat. In the fight or flight response, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system. These both initiate reactions in the body; the sympathetic nervous system, by using nerve pathways, and the adrenal-cortical system, using the bloodstream.
Vol XCIII, No. 311
What is it?
Impact of Fear
Fear is a basic human emotion that works in an instant and is programmed into the nervous system. It is known as an unpleasant emotion that people (and animals) feel when they feel threatened. Although it is a horrible feeling people get, fear can protect us, or at least act as a warning, and alert us to dangers that could be threatening to us and our environment.
When we sense threats, our brain sends signals that activate our nervous system, which causes physical reactions in our bodies, such as a faster heartbeat, an increase in blood pressure, rapid breathing (etc.).
There are some fears that have a neutral affect on us, while others don't benefit, but make our lives more difficult to live.
The fears we develop can vary from something minor to something that overwhelm or impact our lives.
Scientists say that our memory pathways are strengthened by stress hormones released by the fear system, so that allows us to remember memories of our experiences. (flashbulb memories)
However, if an event is so traumatic and the stress hormones over-flow, it can negatively affects our memory. It can damage the process in our brains that allow us to control our emotions.
This affects the decisions we choose and our thinking.
When you're experiencing fear, it doesn't last forever, but the impact of it can stay with us. In some cases, it can affect our concentration, sleep, appetite (etc) and take over our lives. It can prevent us to do simple things that impact our health.