Humans don’t learn to become terrified of spiders and snakes — we were hard-wired millions of years ago to fear them!
Apparently, as a scientific study* concludes, the spider/snake specific response conferred an evolutionary advantage to our ancestors- who were able to identify and react to the creatures more quickly.
Reading this article made me reflect on my fears:
- I used to be fearful of aliens coming to “get me”. I am pretty sure that the time it would have been useful for them to study me has passed.
- I used to be afraid that my mind would go before my body. Since watching the decline of my own parents I’m now fearful that my mind will NOT go before my body. It may be a blessing not to be aware of what my limitations are.
- I used to be fearful people wouldn’t like me. I now consider it a compliment that certain people don’t like me
I used to be fearful of snakes. I spent hours in my early 20’s watching snakes (behind a glass exhibit) noticing how beautiful their markings were, how incredible it was that they navigated their way with their tongue and how remarkable their ability to move was. I still am afraid of snakes. It’s hard-wired, you know.
- I used to be fearful of not getting good grades in school. I’ve got all the diplomas now I need . . .or want.
- I used to be terrified of dying. I’m not afraid of that since I’ve embraced the Baha’i belief about the celestial realm.
- I used to be fearful of never having a boy ask me to dance at high school dances. Now I fear that if anyone asked they’d find out I can’t dance
- I used to be afraid of heights. I took a Wilderness Course in my 30’s where we had to climb poles, walk across streams on tiny logs and fall backwards off ledges into people’s’ arms. I am still afraid of heights.
Hey! My list of fears has really been whittled down!
All I’m afraid of now is that there are snakes in heaven, I will be a dance instructor for eternity and that heaven is REALLY HIGH up.
What are . . . or were . . . your fears ?
I have little, VERY little, memories of my childhood or adolescence – or adulthood for that matter. It concerned me when a therapist colleague said that was an indication of repressed memory of probably horrible childhood trauma. Ai yiiii yiiiiii. Maybe I was beaten, or worse, and all these years believing I had nice parents.
I told a psychiatrist friend about my memory “affliction” thinking he would suggest decades of psycho-analysis at best and in-patient treatment at worst. He looked passively at me and without the slightest hesitation said, “All that indicates is your childhood was boring.”
This is one of my aha moments that I DO remember and spurred me to investigate the neuro-biology of emotion. What does that have to do with hang-over? Read on!
Hung Over by Peggy
You already know without a doubt that most of your memories are ones that were highly emotional experiences.
“Emotional experiences can induce physiological and internal brain states that persist for long periods of time after the emotional events have ended, a team of New York University scientists has found. This study, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience, also shows that this emotional “hangover” influences how we attend to and remember future experiences.”
“How we remember events is not just a consequence of the external world we experience, but is also strongly influenced by our internal states–and these internal states can persist and color future experiences,” explains Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and senior author of the study.”
“‘Emotion’ is a state of mind, . . . findings make clear that our cognition is highly influenced by preceding experiences and, specifically, that emotional brain states can persist for long periods of time.”’
” . . . data showed that the brain states associated with emotional experiences carried over for 20 to 30 minutes and influenced the way the subjects processed and remembered future experiences that are not emotional.”
“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” observes Davachi.
I’m so relieved! Not only wasn’t I beaten . . . or worse . . . the biggest hang-over I’ve experienced was the news I’ve led an exceptionally boring life.
To read the entire article, who the author are and the research behind it click HERE.