The Effect of Fear on our Brain

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Enhancing and experimenting on the human brain has always been a controversial topic due to arguments based on ethics. In the hypothetical event that a brain would be altered and would bypass the laws of ethics implemented, a researcher may look at the environment the individual may be in and determine characteristics based upon that. For example, a super soldier would need to be quick on his/her feet and be able to react to situations quickly. A super soldier would need to be strong and ready for combat and high intensity situations. When thinking of the human brain it’s difficult to get a balance of opposing characteristics.

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This super soldier would have high amounts of adrenaline to keep them ready for combat, but would risk the calmness and strategic thinking in the process. They would also need to be trained for combat in an effective and efficient way. Proposing learning through fear learning can help with the soldier’s memory of training. This can help minimize spontaneous acts during combat and still follow a general procedure. A soldier with an active memory of what he or she is trained to do while being put in fearful situations can avoid recklessness. These fearful situations will also give the soldier appropriate responses to the threat he or she is facing. There is no proper way to prepare for battle when the other group’s plans are unknown so by stimulating a fearful environment, within reason, the brain can develop a reaction. Other simulations in the brain can also improve picture recognition. Although this may not seem like a priority, it can be extremely beneficial when the soldier is given a specific task or has a distinct target. Picture recognition also be used in training as a method to help soldiers identify important details when out in the field. These techniques can act as an advantage for soldiers and maximize their effect.

For this case, the most important areas of the brain to understand are the amygdala, the pituitary gland, insula, and the hippocampus. The amygdala controls autonomic responses, which means it is in charge of reactions to certain feelings and emotions. Emotional stimulation, fear, and anxiety. The hypothalamus then receives signals from the amygdala and acts as a command center. From the hypothalamus, more signals start to be spread throughout the body to ensure the body is having the correct response to the emotional state of the individual. The pituitary gland is one of the locations that will receive input from the hypothalamus and is commonly known for controlling the endocrine system. This means it is in charge of releasing certain hormones throughout the body. The insular cortex was not an area neglected to being studied for years and is still being studied for various things. Many studies show strong correlations between the insula and certain emotions, such as fear.

During a previous experiment directly regarding fear conditioning and effects on the brain, scientists learned about activity in the brain based on this form of behavioral conditioning. The activation of lateral amygdala pyramidal cells occurred as an unconditioned stimulus and in return produced learning through fear (Johansen et al, 2010). After learning of the comparison between this stimulus and fear conditioning, the researchers decided to optically stimulate the same cells. They found that when stimulated, they “produced fear learning and memory formation” (Johansen et al, 2010). Performing the same stimulus on a super soldier during training can provide fear conditioning as a learning method and condition them for certain situations. One effect of this that may not be beneficial is the risk of psychological disorders. Many soldiers develop post traumatic stress disorder after going into battle and implementing fear can have an effect on their sensitivity to traumatic events. In another study, participants were exposed to imaging of spiders to observe the brain’s activity with the creature in different proximities. The researchers observed augmented activity throughout the amygdala, insula, and midbrain. They concluded that an important function of these threat processing networks is to “index when events turn out to be more threatening or fear-inducing than anticipated” (Mobbs et al, 2010).

This allows for more processes to take place after the threat has been acknowledged and to “calibrate the threat prediction system over time” (Mobbs et al, 2010). If soldiers were to respond to the same mimicking of threats, their brain would allow for more accurate threat predictions in the future. Without the factor of fear, a similar correlation was found concerning picture recognition and parts of the brain. A signal change between the dorsal amygdala and anterior hippocampus had a positive correlation with picture recognition. This means as the change in activity, the level of picture recognition increased too (Mackiewicz et al, 2006). Applying these techniques could help build a better brain by referencing plasticity instead of directly operating on or directly changing individuals. There are steroids given for common medical problems that have been proved to be apart of the adrenaline production process. Although adrenaline itself is released in the medulla of adrenal glands, a hormone from the pituitary gland initiates its release. Glucocorticoids can work together with pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone to produce adrenaline (Wurtman & Axelrod, 1965). Adrenaline is extremely important as a component of fight-or-flight responses and can be beneficial in battle. Having a super soldier who has trained their brain before battle and also has the benefits of an adrenaline rush can keep them attentive and efficient.

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The Effect of Fear on Our Brain. (2022, Aug 31). Retrieved October 7, 2022 , from

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