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Media Player For_Definition Of Fear




In biological terms fear is adaptive. The release of stress hormones can energize and protect the body during exposure to a dangerous situation. In contrast, psychological fear is not natural, and it is an active phenomenon that occurs whenever we anticipate or experience a threat or danger. Studies suggest that  fear functions by reducing our ability to accurately perceive or learn about the threat  (Olff and van Zuiden, [@ref45]). Bergman *et al.* ([@ref4]) found that fear is a major source of adult psychopathology, which is important given that the treatment of anxiety and fear is a major concern in the current day (de Beun, [@ref16]). In a group of healthy young adults, a paradigm that allowed the systematic control of natural fear was used. In this task, the probability of a tone predicting a mild electric shock was manipulated (two groups, 50% and 20%). After a session during which the participants received instructions, they participated in three conditioning phases. The acquisition phase consisted of two learning trials, during which the tone predicted the shock. After these trials the participants were fully informed of the low and high probability of the shock. In the reminder phase, they could use the information they had learned about the low and high probability to predict whether a tone would predict a shock. When later tested in an extinction phase, the participants predicted a shock less often when a tone did not predict a shock. This extinction effect was again significantly larger for the high probability group. This suggests that learning information about fear is activated by fear. This learning can therefore be actively avoided and should lead to a reduction of fear. This finding is in line with a model of fear learning as an active process, which includes both active avoidance and active contextual control (Barlow and Allen, [@ref3]). According to this model fear learning is a process of active inhibition of an expectancy of fear. This means that if the context and the likelihood of a threat have been learned, then fear can be actively inhibited. This helps us to keep safe in a threatening environment (Barlow and Allen, [@ref3]). The term active  is used here to describe a process that is more than just passive (i.e. motoric or not); that is, if it involves a voluntary process of an individual. Fear that is cognitively controlled and requires intentionality can be described as an active process. This would imply that we can actively control (or inhibit) our fear.



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