Have we misunderstood fear and anxiety?

Journal title PNEI REVIEW
Author/s Joseph LeDoux
Publishing Year 2018 Issue 2018/2 Language Italian
Pages 17 P. 5-21 File size 1076 KB
DOI 10.3280/PNEI2018-002001
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The neuroscientifi c research about fear and anxiety of the last decades has been focusing on the study and manipulation of behavioural and physiologic responses to threatening stimuli. Since most of these researches has been carried out on animals, for the sake of simplicity researchers has been using emotional terms such as "fear" and "anxiety" to point at those behavioural and physiologic responses. However, these are two distinct phenomena: the physiologic arousal is the non-conscious reaction to the threatening stimulus, while the emotion "fear" (or "anxiety") is the conscious and subjective experience lived during that situation. Both phenomena involve several brain circuits and are essential for survival, but it is paramount to non confuse them, as unfortunately it has been done more or less consciously, because: arousal isn’t necessary to the emotion, neither the emotion is necessary to arousal; there is the risk to reduce the conscious experience to simple physiologic responses that can bed pharmacological controllable.

Keywords: Fear, Anxiety, Behaviors, Emotions, Survival circuits, Theories of consciousness.

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Joseph LeDoux, Abbiamo equivocato i concetti di paura e ansia? in "PNEI REVIEW" 2/2018, pp 5-21, DOI: 10.3280/PNEI2018-002001