In order to elaborate on the topic of fear, I found an article that continues with the discussion of the human processing of fear. It examines the physiological and physical processes that the brain goes through when experiencing fear as well as going into depth about fear conditioning (what situations condition fear and how the brain can be trained to fear things) and the most common fears among teens. Interestingly enough, at #1 among common fears (in 2005) was actually that of a terrorist attack, followed by spiders and then death.

This second article discusses a study that was done in order to test if humans have the ability to smell or sense emotions (specifically the fear emotion). Published on November 5 in the Psychological Science magazine, scientists collected sweat from under the armpits of men while they were watching the horror movie “The Shining” and while they were watching repulsive clips from the movie “Jackass”. They then asked 36 different women to take a visual test while they were unknowingly inhaling the man’s scent. By observing and recording the women’s facial expressions, they found that women reacted in a scared manner when inhaling the fear scent and put a repulsed expression when smelling the “disgusted scent”. This study suggests that humans can sense emotions through scent which may help researchers understand how panic spreads especially in crowded areas.

Some Questions:
1. Is fear the most overpowering emotion?
2. Do fears/phobias differ among age? Do they get worse as a person gets older?
3. Do adults have more fears than children?
4. Experience provides knowledge, does it also produce fear?
5. Does fear hold us back?

TOK Knowledge Question:

How do we feel fear?
How do we know when we are fearful?


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