Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat that causes animals to move quickly away from the location of the perceived threat, and sometimes hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) a freeze or paralysis response is possible. Some psychologists such as John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that there is only a small set of basic or innate emotions and that fear is one of them. This hypothesized set includes such emotions as joy, sadness, and anger. Fear should be distinguished from the emotion anxiety, which typically occurs without any certain or immediate external threat.
Fear is frequently related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. It is worth noting that fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. Fear can also be an instant reaction to something presently happening. All people have an instinctual response to potential danger, which is in fact important to the survival of all species. The reactions elicited from fear are seen through advantages in evolution.
Famous quotes containing the word fear:
“In the United States the whites speak well of the Blacks but think bad about them, whereas the Blacks talk bad and think bad about the whites. Whites fear Blacks, because they have a bad conscience, and Blacks hate whites because they need not have a bad conscience.”
—Friedrich Dürrenmatt (19211990)
“I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs, the divine allied to beasts, the creatures of appetite, and that, to some extent, our very life is our disgrace.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Those who love to be feared fear to be loved, and they themselves are more afraid than anyone, for whereas other men fear only them, they fear everyone.”
—Francis De Sales, Saint (15671622)