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Author Topic: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!  (Read 14223 times)

Offline neilep

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Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« on: 19/05/2004 00:04:53 »
I believe we have a natural tendency to distinguish between beauty and unattractiveness....I do not subscribe to the point of view that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (MY OPINION OK ?)....though I do conceive and accept that differnt cultures do have different ways of seeing beauty etc

I think this was demonstrated to me today when my son came back from an outing to London Zoo, he purchased a toy Alligator....it wasn't particulaly menacing (from my point of view)....but when my 22 month old Daughter saw it, we were shocked at her reaction...at first we thought she had injured herself or been stung by something but she was inconsolable until the alligator was taken away....we have never seen her so distressed like this.......to further confirm this, much later on, we left the Alligator sitting on a foot-stall in our lounge and we watched very carefully when she wandered in......same reaction !!....of course we immediately took it away. She is fine now....took only a couple of minutes for her to return to her happy self.

Now I know she has never seen an Alligator before, not even on the television or in a book......but something inside her made her feel extremely uncomfortable upon seeing it.

I do believe that some fears are learned but in this case I strongly affirm that it was the look of the Alligator with it's long scale like body and teeth that upset her.

Has anybody else experienced something like this with their children ?

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« Last Edit: 19/05/2004 00:15:23 by neilep »


 

Offline Rokitansky

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #1 on: 19/05/2004 00:17:10 »
Although I`m too young to have kids, I doubt that there are any fears that are not learned, but innate.

I guess that she might saw something simmilar that she connected with that alligator. Or it could be a story she heard, or something else..

However, there is a question how kids react on the newly introduced things, persons, etc. There are kids who are very curious about them, and there are others (i belive they are in minority) who avoid to interact with new and unknown. This also might be connected with experience.
 

Offline tweener

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #2 on: 19/05/2004 01:03:48 »
I agree with Neil that some people are afraid of some things naturally.  This differs from person to person and can be overcome with experience.  Give her a few years and she probably won't give a second thought to a toy alligator.

I wonder what her reaction will be tomorrow?  I wonder what her reaction would be to a real alligator on TV?  In the zoo?  I wonder so many things....

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #3 on: 19/05/2004 01:39:38 »
Towards the end of the evening she was beginning to approach the toy which I held and played with....I have no doubt that within a day or two she will be not afraid of it, thanks John.

Darko, I agree that there is something innate in all of us, however, with regards to my daughter hearing a story I can vouch that she hasn't....there is a slim possibility that she may have seen an alligator on television but very unlikely.............

I suppose my whole point is that I personally believe that we do have inbuilt knowledge that help to protect us, instinct and intuition for example....and only in later years are they finely tuned as we gather life experience.

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Offline OldMan

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #4 on: 19/05/2004 04:13:27 »
I agree with Neil I think there are certain things we are instictually afraid of but we probably become more curious with time and sometimes these curiosities over come the fears.

On the topic of instincts the section that will follow was sent to me recently and made me ask are we sort of breeding our instincts out of ourselves.

"Am I infertile?" ...."No, you just need to have sex"
 A German couple who had visited an IVF clinic after 8 years of marriage to find out why they could not conceive, where amazed at the cause of their problem. They needed to have sex.    
 A spokesman from the clinic said: "When we asked them how often they had had sex, they looked blank, and said: "What do you mean?".  
 The couple where brought up in a very strict religious environment and simply did not know the physical requirements for having children. They are now undertaking sex theory lessons.

An animal surely wouldn't have any problem with this yet we seem to have come to the stage where we have to be taught something that you think would be a basic survival mechanism.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #5 on: 19/05/2004 11:43:01 »
Tim, that is amazing regarding the german couple, could it be that they were imbibed with such strong religious coinvictions that the consequence could be considered a form of brain washing  or behaivoural control ? I mean to lose or not have the instinct to procreate, surely one of the most natural and probably the most basic instinct eh ? What kind of isolation must they have been living through.....absolutely incredible. Thanks for that.

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Offline Ultima

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #6 on: 19/05/2004 12:18:42 »
I remember reading about a study done on babies and fear. Several babies were shown pictures of top predators and their reactions were monitored. It was found that babies have a strong innate fear of big cats even a silhouette makes them afraid or gets there attention. I canít remember what other animals were involved, Iíll see if I can find a link.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #7 on: 19/05/2004 13:02:47 »
Thanks Matt...don't bust-a-gut over it, but if you find the link that would be great.

cheers


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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #8 on: 19/05/2004 15:55:21 »
Never seen a crocodile??? The poor thing. Take her to the Sydney zoo !!! (grins)

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #9 on: 19/05/2004 16:21:37 »
Sure thing Quanty....we'll just jump into my transporter and whooooooosh !!

..10 mins later !!

WOW....we had a great time...glad to be home though....!!:D

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Offline Donnah

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #10 on: 20/05/2004 19:20:48 »
I've heard another theory.  If your daughter (or someone close to her) was attacked and/or eaten by an alligator in a past life, she could bring the fear into this incarnation.  Depends if you believe in reincarnation or not.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #11 on: 20/05/2004 19:47:59 »
...Thanks Donnah..I think you might know my stance on reincarnation but I am pleased to say that today I managed to get her to touch the Alligator and she's so much better with it.........

Incidentally Donnah...did you ever get to Wikaninnish Lodge ?..I was most interested in your experience.

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« Last Edit: 20/05/2004 19:49:20 by neilep »
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #12 on: 21/05/2004 00:03:44 »
Not yet.  We were going to squeeze it in with the Yukon trip in June, but decided instead to go next summer and spend a few weeks there.  That way I can do some research and mapping before we go.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #13 on: 13/06/2004 13:08:51 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

I believe we have a natural tendency to distinguish between beauty and unattractiveness....I do not subscribe to the point of view that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (MY OPINION OK ?)....though I do conceive and accept that differnt cultures do have different ways of seeing beauty etc

I think this was demonstrated to me today when my son came back from an outing to London Zoo, he purchased a toy Alligator....it wasn't particulaly menacing (from my point of view)....but when my 22 month old Daughter saw it, we were shocked at her reaction...at first we thought she had injured herself or been stung by something but she was inconsolable until the alligator was taken away....we have never seen her so distressed like this.......to further confirm this, much later on, we left the Alligator sitting on a foot-stall in our lounge and we watched very carefully when she wandered in......same reaction !!....of course we immediately took it away. She is fine now....took only a couple of minutes for her to return to her happy self.

Now I know she has never seen an Alligator before, not even on the television or in a book......but something inside her made her feel extremely uncomfortable upon seeing it.

I do believe that some fears are learned but in this case I strongly affirm that it was the look of the Alligator with it's long scale like body and teeth that upset her.

Has anybody else experienced something like this with their children ?

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'  




I just thought I'd mention that my daughter absolutely loves the alligator now....it did take about a week for her to be really comfortable but now...she loves it....even sleeps with it too......aaaaaaaaahhhh !!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'  
 

Offline bezoar

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #14 on: 14/06/2004 05:15:04 »
Hey Penile,
Maybe you could try that.  If it puts her to sleep, maybe you just need to sleep with an animal too -- and preferably one you started out being afraid of.  Hmmmm......
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #15 on: 14/06/2004 10:25:16 »
I was initially a little scared of you Nance *cheeky giggle and naughty smirk* !!

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Offline bezoar

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #16 on: 15/06/2004 02:45:08 »
Why Penile, I think I'm blushing, and I also think I'm better looking than that alligator.  Therefore, I guess it won't work cause I'm not an object of fear.  Although I don't know, let me go look in the mirror........
 

Offline Radrook

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #17 on: 15/06/2004 13:45:08 »
When a baby is born they check for the normalcy of certain reflexes. One is their reaction to a loud sudden sound, The baby's reaction is expected to be a sudden stiffening of its whole body. Whether this reaction to a loud sound should be classified as an innate fear of loud noises depends on how we define fear. Obviously the baby doesn't as yet have the ability to know what death or physical harm is as adults do. So its reaction is perhaps qualitatively different. However, on a hormonal lever characterized by an increase in heartbeat rate, dilation of blood vessels, tensing of voluntary muscles, which accompany the release of adrenaline, such a reaction seems identical to an adult's.
 

Offline OmnipotentOne

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #18 on: 15/06/2004 23:00:39 »
Yes I agree with that fully, some of my friends are terrified of snakes, without coming in any close contact or danger with them.  Althought when I was younger I nearly got struck by one, and ran back to the house white as a ghost.  I love snakes even to this day despite my close encounter.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #19 on: 15/06/2004 23:14:04 »
So, it seems we all agree that there are inbuilt, preprogrammed instincts that are designed to enable us to function correctly. I think it's safe to assume that we are born possesing inherent ' knowledge'...an awareness, cognition and comprehension of certain recognitions which enable us to react accordingly......to survive. My daughters' reaction to the toy alligator I think is a prime example. I just hope that in the future, should she take a stroll in Trafalgar Square or do some shopping in Oxford Street and she perchance meets an alligator doing some sightseeing , that she won't want to go and give it a hug !!


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Offline valley

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #20 on: 16/06/2004 10:09:47 »
I saw a model of a Tyranosaur Rex head the other day. All done to be as realistic as possible. If I put my head near it and looked into its eye, I felt an unaccustomed very visceral thrill comparable to looking over a cliff. I knew it was a model and have no concious phobia of any type of lizard (have never come in contact with a big one). It definitely felt like some sort of inbuilt reaction, I think maybe it was triggered by this in particular because it was large and filled my field of vision.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #21 on: 16/06/2004 12:14:56 »
I think I would feel the same....perhaps there is a conflict going on in the brain, though you knew it was a model, there was something still happenning to make you feel cautious or a little apprehensive etc....I suspect if you were to see the model on a regular basis then perhaps the unaccustomed thrill may diminish...........................err...when I say 'see it on a regular basis' , I don't mean take it out for a drink and a date of course :D........also, your reaction must be linked to a basic ancestoral instinct eh ?

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Offline OmnipotentOne

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #22 on: 17/06/2004 20:56:52 »
Basic instinct.....I think we might be the only organism that has this trait, although animals might not have a coincence(SP?) at all.   I know if they did, we'd hit alott less squirels!:D

I cant seem to grasp that we have "things" imprinted onto our brains, telling us to be terrorized of somthing weve never come in contact with before.  The human mind is an amazing thing.

Then again in an article in some magizine it stated we were being held back by our primitive basic instincts, or somthing along that line...

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Offline neilep

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #23 on: 17/06/2004 23:30:14 »
We are what we are.....I can't think that we are being held back by our primitive instincts.....if they are there then they are there because they are a part of us and who knows what our behaivour would be like without them.

I can believe quite easily that we have inherent tendencies/instincts and that other lesser animals too.....I think we have to have a basic fundamental instinct for protection and survival....not an instinct that is for a specific animal or thing. but a basic set of rules that indicate that there is a danger, or the possibility of a danger, a state of awareness.........I think these are the most basic of basic instincts.

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Offline valley

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #24 on: 18/06/2004 18:03:33 »
OmnipotentOne said "Basic instinct.....I think we might be the only organism that has this trait"

I disagree, I would expect 'lower' animals to have such basic reactions to be even more hard-wired in than us. The less concious thought and complex learning you have, the more basic stuff you need. Can't think of any good evidence of this, but...

Nice experiment: someone took baby rats and removed their cerebral cortexes (so removing any chance of concious thought, as I understand it). They grew them to adult and then put them in a room with normal rats. A number of rat scientists were invited in to see if they could spot the doctored rats... they couldn't. Lots of the rats' behaviour (sniffing, running, etc) pretty much runs on automatic pilot.
 

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Re: Are most fears learned ? I don't think so !!
« Reply #24 on: 18/06/2004 18:03:33 »

 

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