A tall man in a long black coat is seen walking past the window of an elementary school with a large brief case. That sentence is enough to make almost any American’s skin crawl for a moment. Change the word man to woman, and all of those uncomfortable feelings change to normal and nothing out of the ordinary. How can this be? Everyone has experienced that unpleasant sensation of fear creeping into their bodies at least one time in their life. Maybe it was watching a horror movie or walking through an unfamiliar part of town at night, but this sensation is unlike any other feeling that humans can produce. It can become the most important survival instinct that a person can rely on. ...view middle of the document...
These five sections of the brain are crucial to surviving because they only act when there is a reason to have fear. The sections are always on guard subconsciously looking for possible threats or dangers that should impose fear to a human.
Of the five sections of the brain, two of them, the hippocampus and the amygdala, are the two main fear processes. These sections remember things that could be dangerous and life threatening, and when they see something that matches, for example, a spider or a snake, they tell the other parts of the brain to prepare to go into a certain survival mode, hence the flight-or-fight response. These parts of the brain are designed specifically for human survival, and they have evolved over time to fear specific things. In a study of people with the fear of holes, psychological scientists Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins suggested that “...trypophobia [fear of holes] may have an evolutionary basis… that humans have learned to avoid [holes] as a matter of survival.” This is because many poisonous animals have designs and patterns on their skin that are dots, giving the appearance of clusters of holes. Cole has even gone so far as to state, “We think that everyone has trypophobic tendencies even though they may not be aware of it… people rate trypophobic images as less comfortable to look at than other images.”
The cluster of holes is not the only specific fear that all humans fear. Dr. Albrecht points out that there are a total of five fears that all people have. The five fears are extinction (fear of death), mutilation (losing part of the bodily structure by animal, weapon, etcetera), loss of autonomy (fear of being trapped physically, emotionally, or socially), separation (fear of rejection and abandonment), and ego-death (fear of humiliation or shame) (Albrecht). This shows that the sections of the brain that create fear are not worthless, in actuality, they are so advanced that they are programmed to avoid things that people may have never seen in their lives. Now, when a person experiences something unfamiliar that could be dangerous, they already have a premature feeling that it might not be safe if it fits a description in their hippocampus or amygdala.
After the hippocampus and the amygdala identify something worth fearing, the hypothalamus begins sending messages to the brain.
Albrecht, Karl, P.h.D. "The (Only) Five Basic Fears We All Live By." Editorial. Psycology Today 22 Mar. 2012: n. pag. Psychology Today. Web. 5 Mar. 2014....