Friday, May 25, 2012

Toddlers Fear Snakes, not Guns; Fear as Motivation.

Fear motivates us to stay safe by avoiding danger.  Fear is conditionable and can result from our experiences (Deckers, 65). We can all name what we fear the most, but many of us are not aware where our fear originates from.  Where does fear come from?  Well according to Deckers’ book fears come from our evolutionary past or natural selection.  When it comes to anxiety the fear is in our genes.  The following video explains about a gene that causes risky behaviors when missing and that genes control our fears (2).

In 2008 a study demonstrated that children are naturally more afraid of things that would have been dangerous centuries ago than of modern dangers (3). Younger children are afraid of snakes, but not guns.  “In the study the psychologists found that participants with a certain variant of the serotonin transporter gene that made the gene shorter, developed a fear of the picture with the shock easily, while participants with a longer version of the gene were less likely to develop a strong fear of the picture. The COMT enzyme gene variant was found to contribute to how easily participants were able to overcome their fear of the shock upon their return to the experiment the next day (3)."

From my experience fear is not all bad. The role of fear is always for survival.  Sometimes it can seem to hold us back, but it could also move us forward faster.  For example, you want to get a job because you wish to be successful (motive) and the money (incentive) you’d make pulls you towards this job, but you fear rejection.  Fearing rejection has little to do with survival and being safe, but having a little challenge can increase desire for the goal and motivate someone to overcome the fear obstacle.
Here are the top ten most common fears in adults are (1);
1) Fear of heights
2) Fear of enclosed spaces
3) Fear of the dark
4) Fear of snakes
5) Fear of spiders
6) Fear of needles
7) Fear of thunder and lightning
8) Fear of having a disease
9) Fear of germs
10) Fear of the number 13
Think about this: What are you afraid of? And when exactly did your fear begin?



  1. Awl seeing this video is an eye opener. You really never know from where your fear truly comes from or when it really started. Poor baby!I can't help to wonder what this baby will fear as an adult.

  2. I understand how some fears can be caused by our evolutionary past as a defense mechanism, such as being afraid of snakes. However,what about fears that aren't life threatening? Number 10 on the list is fear of the number 13. Why would anyone have a need to fear a number? I think many fears are purely influenced by superstitions, folk tales, and other external social influences.