Fear conditioning is a particularly efficient form of classical conditioning. It is a quick and long lasting mechanism for acquiring and storing information about harmful or potentially harmful stimuli and situations. It is an ancient evolutionary solution to self-defense that has been observed in species as diverse a fruit flies, fish, baboons and humans. Once a fear trigger is learned, the response will remain the same indefinitely and resist efforts to extinguish it. The bias is toward action; it is better to react immediately to a false alarm than to ignore a real threat.
Courage, Bravery, and Valor
A courageous person understands danger, and chooses to overcome their fear and proceed to face the danger. It is not fearlessness, recklessness, or rashness. It is a well-considered and brave decision to behave constructively despite the fear.
Related Moods and Traits
The term anxiety refers to the lengthy metal state of being worried for an unknown reason. Some researchers classify anxiety as a mood and others as a separate emotion.
Fear expressions send a danger warning to those close by. Screaming also sends a danger warning.
The facial expression of fear has these distinctive features:
- Raised eyebrows,
- tensed lower eyelids,
- eyebrows drawn together,
- Lips stretched horizontally,
We cope with fear by trying to flee or escape from the threat, fighting back, or focusing on ways to eliminate or reduce the threat. It helps to relax when the threat is not immediate.
Fear is such a powerful emotion that it is often exploited through fear-mongering. Unneeded, ineffective, or overpriced insurance policies, safety equipment, automobile undercoating, protection services, defensive actions, medications, and military expenditures are willingly purchased by people who are intimidated by a wide range of doomsayers. Terrorism is so effective because fear is so powerful. The fear of humiliation is strong and is a form of control often exploited by people as diverse as childhood playmates, advertisers, sales people, the boss, and tyrants.
Phobias are persistent, irrational fears. They are likely the result of learned responses and can be extinguished with effective therapy.
Images of Fear:
Here are some facial expressions of fear. Most are posed and a few are spontaneous.
Also, the famous painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch captures a memorable image of fear.