Extreme Fear

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Science journalist Jeff Wise explains the latest research about how the brain reacts to fear, and describes his hands-on approach to his reporting. His book Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger reveals how the simple "fight or flight" model has been replaced by a more complex understanding of our body and brain’s response to fear.


Jeff Wise

Comments [10]

L.C. from New York City

Point well taken, Alex (Comment 3 at 01:17PM). One of many examples, sadly.

A healthy "fear of mis-speaking" might have done this guest some good.

Feb. 04 2010 03:11 PM
Lou from brooklyn

re. homeopathic quackery such as rescue remedy, read this for a start:
If you buy the "theory" and it works for you, brilliant; maybe a placebo is all it takes for some folks to relax.

Feb. 04 2010 01:35 PM
Kazuo from Fairfield

I have heard that public speech is the most feared after death. Could you explain?

Feb. 04 2010 01:23 PM
Matthew from Astoria

That movie about the plane crash survivors was indeed called "Fearless." Alongside Jeff Bridges, it starred friend-of-WNYC Rosie Perez, and she got an Oscar nomination for it. And I bet she's gonna call in if you don't give her a shout-out for it!

Great segment, by the way.

Feb. 04 2010 01:23 PM
Phil Henshaw from NY

There are actually a great range of responses to approaching lines of conflict, with the extreme fear responses being those at the upper limit of danger. Getting into real danger indicates that the individual MISSED the other signals.

That opens one of the fascinating windows into the behavior of how nature designs living things. She designs them to be active learning systems... ! I encourage you to contact me to follow it up.


Feb. 04 2010 01:22 PM
Carola from Bed-Stuy Bklyn

Look into Rescue Remedy - lots easier than beta blockers!

Feb. 04 2010 01:21 PM
lynn from manhattan

Has there been any research showing that panic attacks are hereditary?

My mom told me she experienced panic attacks when she was pregnant with me. I used to experience them when I was around large groups of people.

I took meds for about a year, and I have not experienced them sense. I learned how to calm myself down and I did not get them when I was pregnant. By occassionally I don feel them coming on, but they do not materialize. Still I fear that they will return, and for that I still have anxiety.

Feb. 04 2010 01:20 PM
Alex from New York City

"Choking is a very interesting phenomena"?

Feb. 04 2010 01:17 PM
Alex from New York City

This guest is identified as a "science journalist." He is identified neither as a psychologist (i.e., as someone with either clinical or academic credentials) nor as a scientist. On what grounds does this guest present himself as an authority on the psychological and physiological experience of fear? There are so many psychologists, psychiatrists, and academics who are extremely qualified to write about and discuss this issue with the requisite authority, people we have reason to expect have some depth of understanding of these issues.

Feb. 04 2010 01:16 PM
jen from manhattan

Is there any difference between the response to normal fears, like the fear of jumping out a plane, and phobias--like my ridiculous fear of cockroaches?

Feb. 04 2010 01:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.