Chapter 8: Fear, Anxiety, and Stress

Evolutionary/Basic Emotion Evidence for Fear

Basic emotions theorists view fear as an adaptation that helps animals to pass on their genes.  Specifically, the emotion fear causes escape or attack behaviors that are meant to defend the body from harm and death.  Two research methods have provided support for this theory – 1) the visual search paradigm and 2) backward masking.  A third program of research on infants and fear further suggests babies are not born to experience the fear emotion but are biased to focus their attention on threatening stimuli.

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