Monday, October 28, 2019

The Science Of Fear Will Scare You

Be Afraid: The Science Of Fear revs up the day after Halloween which is entirely appropriate.
You can catch it Friday November 1 at 9 p.m. on CBC-TV's The Nature Of Things.
Director Roberto Verdecchia on the phone tells me he first thought about the subject after his last Nature Of Things documentary on household insects seemed to incite fear in a whole lot of viewers.
The nature of fear  it seems is somewhat of a mystery.
And there's the suggestion some amount of fear could actually be good for us.
So he set about trying to find the nature of fear.
 He visited with a young motorcycle stunt rider who seems not at all fazed by  the stunts he must clearly execute to avoid injury.
There's the strange case of Miriam who with pulverized with fear over chickens.
We see how a therapist helps her until in one shot she is petting the very hen that caused her such misery.
Then there's the lady who is terrified of heights. Pills can help but she also needs to work through her problems with a therapist
I liked the segment on haunted houses--you would never ever get me inside one all the years I visited at the Canadian National Exhibition's Midway.
Some visitors would leave the haunted house feeling exultant they had confronted their fears --and survived.
But I would go on some of those gravity changing rides and yell and scream and really enjoy myself.
For many --not me-- the mere anticipation of fear is something they actually enjoy.  Our emotions get aroused but then rational behaviour sets in.
Some fears it turns out are good for us. It seems we're born with some senses of fear as a segment on babies demonstrates.
Women are four times as afraid of spiders and snakes than men.
And then there's the odd case of a woman who has no fear --it's due to an illness in her amygdala.
"She's not shown because we were fearful people could take advantage of her," Roberto explains to me.
"But we show she certainly has no anticipatory feels of fear no matter what."
It was only in a controlled experiment when she was deprived of oxygen for a second that fear appeared.
"It's an example of more than the amygdala controlling fear patterns."
By the way this hour may be filled with scare inducing moments but it ends on a bright, calm moment. Turns out some fear is necessary to survival for us all.
MY RATING: ****,

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