Hey guys!! How are you guys?I hope you are doing good ❤ Let’s dissect fear through the lens of Neuroscience!
Everyone gets scared. Fear is an inevitable part of human existence.
Some people try hard to suppress it while others try hard to get it like by watching scary movies or doing things that scare them.
Why do we get scared??
From an evolutionary point of view fear is essential for our survival.Any creature which doesn’t run and hide will be killed by the bigger or stronger animals
What happens in our body?
Fight and flight response happens.
Heartbeat start fluttering
Peripheral blood vessels constrict and your hand or feet might get cold
Central blood vessels will dilate to supply nutrients to the vital organs
Tiny muscles attached to the hair shaft also contracts causing Goosebumps
Levels of glucose,calcium and white blood cells also increases!!
Trigger of fear!
Amygdala an almond shaped bunch of neurons is responsible for triggering fear.
Our Adrenal Gland
Amygdala triggers-Hypothalamus which ultimately triggers pituitary gland which secretes ACTH
Sympathetic nervous system becomes activated which nudges Adrenal gland to secrete Epinephrine
The body also releases cortisol which brings about a rise in blood pressure, glucose and calcium
Epinephrine and Norepinephrine causes the muscle for violent action.
Butterflies in the stomach
It can reduce the activity in the stomach
It also inhibits salivation and lacrimation which causes dry eyes and dry mouth
Hippocampus and Prefrontal cortex assess threats and fears
They help us understand whether our fear response is real and justified, or whether we might have overreacted somewhat.
Why do we freeze when we are afraid?
This is modulated by preaqueductal gray and cerebellum.Cerebellum deals with motor activity so in fear preaqueductal region inhibits the activity of cerebellum.
A 2014 study
The researchers found a bundle of fibers that connect one region of the cerebellum, called the pyramis, directly to the PAG. Messages that run along these paths cause an animal to freeze with fright.
Irrational fear that is out of proportion which can definitely do no harm
Both genes and environment plays a part in phobia formation.
One study also discovered that there was a disconnect between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, which normally helps an individual override or minimize the fear response.
In another study it is seen that precuneus,lateral Prefrontal cortex and visual activity was lower in phobic people as compared to non-phobic people
These are the brain regions involved in regulating fearful emotions.
Fear response is primal so we should respect it.It can be unpleasant and can interfere with people.It is a multifaceted and fascinating human emotion.
Bye Bye!I hope you have a happy and healthy day ❤