The following is a very brief excerpt from my book, “This is Not That” due to be completed in 2048, based on the current pace. Let me know what you think. “In a rather complicated study, Professor D.B. Fenker and his colleagues (2005) had subjects view a series of emotionally neutral words on a computer screen. Randomly, some words were preceded by pictures of fearful faces or other disturbing images. The exposure to these images, however, was so quick that the individual was not aware that they had even seen the image, referred to popularly as subliminal images. Participants were later shown lists of words and asked to say whether they recalled seeing a word (had a conscious memory of learning it) or knew they had seen the word (they knew they had seen it before but couldn’t remember where or when). The researchers found that when words were preceded by a frightening or unpleasant image, they were more accurately recognized, though not consciously recalled. The implications of this study, and others like it, are momentous. If the brain is so sensitive to negative stimulation as to react in such a powerful way to such an insignificant trigger, imagine its […]
Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience
Playing Dead Emotionally: How Numbing Your Pain Can Be a Curse (and a Blessing)
Fight, Flight and … Freeze? Most people have heard of the “fight or flight” response. It is the body’s naturally hard-wired way of dealing with threats to one’s safety. I have written about it before, a few times, so I won’t go into it again but today I’m going to mention the third part of this response: freeze. In nature, animals typically go to flight first, since they are free of ego and have nothing to prove, only to enhance their own chances of survival. If they can’t go to flight and escape danger, they will go to fight, posturing and growling in hopes of scaring off the threat. If this fails, they will actually engage in aggressive behavior, albeit defensive aggression. Once these two options are unsuccessful, or if they are unavailable, most species have a form of reflexive behavior that could be termed “playing dead”. Playing Dead Emotionally Since most of the threats people face in our neck of the woods are social or emotional (although many do face actual physical threats in many forms), the freeze response may look a bit different than it does for a possum or cat. In our case, we tend to play […]
Cane Toads: Are We Solving Problems or Creating Problems?
n the early part of the 20th century, Australian farmers whose livelihood was based upon sugar cane found themselves struggling with a dilemma. Their precious crop was being devoured by beetles. The farmers did not know what to do about the problem until they learned of a species of toad whose tadpoles were poisonous to almost all other creatures. After seeing these toads used to successfully control the pest population in a few other countries, the Australian government decided that it would be a good idea to import just over 100 of these little helpers. They then conducted a study a year later to see if their plan was working and to their delight, they found that it was. The toads, now called Cane Toads, were eating the beetles that had been so bothersome to the farmers. The farmers were so enthused by the success that they then released approximately 62,000 more Cane Toads to Australia within the next year. This is where things began to get interesting. Not only did the farmers note that the Cane Toads were not very successful in getting rid of the beetles, they also realized that the Cane Toads were having another, unanticipated, impact. […]