15 October 2013

Emotions: FEAR

Emotions are a really complex area in psychology, but also a very important one! Ekman affirmed that humans have five basic emotions: Happiness, anger, fear, sadness and disgust. I will start with fear.
The fisrt thing we need to know is: What is fear?
It is a basic emotion that appears when we perceive DANGER. It is a rapid action to face danger and in order to survive, but sometimes fear makes us freeze which would make us fail in avoiding a risk.
When we experience fear, lots of physiological changes occur in our body like pounding heart, tense muscle, perspiration, etc. Furthermore we want to run away, hide and cry. Imagine a fear situation and try to thnk about how you'll react!

To understand fear better we need to learn: What provokes fear?
The sensation of fear depends A LOT in species. It is a feeling related with evolution (running away from danger), so depending on the species we will be afraid of some things or others. Darkness and heights are human's specific.
There are three classes of fear stimuli in humans:
- Environmental (heights, darkness...)
- Social  (e.g. being looked at)
      - Supernatural: which has role with cultural learning (ghosts, aliens...)

Finally we should understand: How is fear is expressed?
Our facial expression changes by action units which are a concept created by Ekman. He explained that action units are basic units that change our facial expression. This happens thanks to the Corrugator Supercilli that changes the whole expression of the face.
When we are in fear we frown and we compress our lips together.Our Body posture also changes, we tend to withdraw and pull backwards. Finally our voice also changes by getting higher in pitch and sometimes leaving us speechless. 


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