Neuroscience

With these neurons, extinguishing fear is its own reward

When you expect a really bad experience to happen and then it doesn't, it's a distinctly positive feeling. A new study of fear extinction training in mice may suggest why: The findings not only identify the exact population ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mindfulness makes it easier to forget your fears

Mindfulness has previously been shown to help people handle negative emotions and is used as a treatment for anxiety related psychological disorders, but the underlying biological mechanisms are not fully understood. In a ...

Health

Having to defend one's sexuality increases fear of childbirth

In order to help people with fear of childbirth, there must be trust between the patient and the healthcare staff. But for many lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people, this trust never develops. These are the results ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

'Safety signals' may help slow down anxiety

For as many as one in three people, life events or situations that pose no real danger can spark a disabling fear, a hallmark of anxiety and stress-related disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants help ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Study finds 'frozen' fear response may underlie PTSD

Learned fear responses enable animals—including humans—to flee or freeze in the face of a perceived threat. But if these behaviors persist after the danger lifts, they can become paralyzing and disabling. That's a key ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Chronic opioid treatment may increase PTSD risk

Long-term (chronic) treatment with opioids, such as morphine, prior to trauma enhances fear learning in mice, according to a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology. The findings, which link chronic opioid treatment before ...

Neuroscience

How our dreams prepare us to face our fears

Do bad dreams serve a real purpose? To answer this question, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland,working in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Why phobias are natural—and how to overcome them

Don't feel bad about having a phobia about public speaking, getting a needle or being near a dog—it's not you, it's your brain, says a University of Alberta psychologist.

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Fear

Fear is an emotional response to threats and danger. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of pain. Psychologists John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that fear is one of a small set of basic or innate emotions. This set also includes such emotions as joy, sadness, and anger. Fear should be distinguished from the related emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any external threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. Worth noting is that fear always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable.

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