“To provoke fear in her, we exposed her to live snakes and spiders, and took her on a tour of a haunted house”….
What scares you? Heights? Snakes? Flying? Small Spaces?
Some people like subject S.M. aren’t scared of any of these things. In fact, almost nothing scares them. S.M. lacked a functioning Amygdala, which is responsible for creating fear in your brain. This abnormality made her a curious case study for researches looking at the deepest roots of fear in humans.
To begin looking at her reactions they sought to provoke fear in her by exposing her to things most of us find frightening. However, “on no occasion did SM exhibit fear and she never endorsed feeling more than minimal levels of fear. Likewise, across a large battery of self-report questionnaires, three months of real-life experience sampling, and a life history replete with traumatic events, SM repeatedly demonstrated an absence of overt fear manifestations and an overall impoverished experience of fear.”
Now this is Scary to Everyone
Later, another team asked S.M. and others with amygdala damage to come back for another test to see if they would experience fear when exposed to something new…Carbon Dioxide. They predicted that these subjects would once again remain calm even as they breathed in more carbon dioxide than is present in normal air.
To the researches surprise these patients experienced even more fear than the healthy control subjects in the study.
“These results indicate that the amygdala is not required for fear and panic, and make an important distinction between fear triggered by external threats from the environment versus fear triggered internally by CO2.”
If you cannot tolerate CO2 very well your body recognizes when the amount of the chemical in your blood increases even slightly. This reaction manifests itself as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks for many people. This sensitivity also greatly impacts your mental performance on the course or field. Begin increasing your CO2 tolerance today to avoid these side effects.
Want some specific guidance on conquering your fear of CO2? Reach out here today!