We all have learned to avoid things that are unpleasant. It could be that pasta dish that coincided with a bad case of the flu, or a particular place where a bad experience happened. We are “conditioned” to avoid, or fear an uncomfortable feeling. What prevents that feeling from becoming irrational?

Researchers and rats at UCLA and New York University may be on to an answer that is certainly thought provoking. The tendency to protect an innocent child, has everything to do with how the child or rat pup handles fear. When rat pups had the mom around they were much more willing to “test the waters” knowing they had support. Researchers also looked at human orphans who had no caring parent support who developed a heightened sense of fear.

This has much to do with how the brain is organized in children vs adults when fear is involved. MRI imaging demonstrates a different communication process between the amygdala and frontal cortex of the brain. Because of this organization, the researchers have found that the young can actually “unlearn” fear.

Read more at www.wsj.com/articles/how-we-learn-to-be-afraid-of-the-right-things-1426687482?KEYWORDS=fear

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