- present participle of scare
Fear is an emotional response to tangible and realistic dangers. Fear should be distinguished from anxiety, an emotion that often arises out of proportion to the actual threat or danger involved, and can be subjectively experienced without any specific attention to the threatening object.
Most fear is usually connected to pain (e.g., some fear heights because if they fall, they may suffer severe injury or even die upon landing). Behavioral theorists, like Watson and Ekman, have suggested that fear is one of several very basic emotions (e.g., joy and anger). Fear is a survival mechanism, and usually occurs in response to a specific negative stimulus.
EtymologyThe Old English term fǣr meant not the emotion engendered by a calamity or disaster but rather the event itself. The first recorded usage of the term "fear" with the sense of the “emotion of fear” is found in a medieval work written in Middle English and composed around 1290. The most probable explanation for the change in the meaning of the word fear is the existence in Old English of the related verb fǣran, which meant “to terrify, take by surprise.”
Serious fear is a response to some formidable impending peril, while trifling fear arises from confrontation with inconsequential danger.
Fear can be described by different terms in accordance with its relative degrees. Personal fear varies extremely in degree from mild caution to extreme phobia and paranoia. Fear is related to a number of emotional states including worry, anxiety, terror, fright, paranoia, horror, panic (social and personal), persecution complex and dread.
Fears may be a factor within a larger social network, wherein personal fears are synergetically compounded as mass hysteria.
- Paranoia is a term used to describe a psychosis of fear, described as a heightened perception of being persecuted, false or otherwise. This degree of fear often indicates that one has changed their normal behavior in radical ways, and may have become extremely compulsive. Sometimes, the result of extreme paranoia is a phobia.
- Distrust in the context of interpersonal fear, is sometimes explained as the inward feeling of caution, usually focused towards a person, representing an unwillingness to trust in someone else. Distrust is not a lack of faith or belief in someone, but a feeling of warning towards someone or something questionable or unknown. For example, one may "distrust" a stranger who acts in a way that is perceived as "odd." Likewise one may "distrust" the safety of a rusty old bridge across a 100 ft drop.
- Terror refers to a pronounced state of fear - which usually occurs before the state of horror - when someone becomes overwhelmed with a sense of immediate danger. Also, it can be caused by perceiving the (possibly extreme) phobia. As a consequence, terror overwhelms the person to the point of making irrational choices and non-typical behavior.
Fear can also affect the subconscious and unconscious mind, most notably through nightmares.
Fear can also be imagined, and the side effects can also be imagined.
CausesAlthough fear is an innate response, objects of fear can be learned. This has been studied in psychology as fear conditioning, beginning with Watson's Little Albert experiment in 1920. In this study, an 11-month-old boy was conditioned to fear a white rat in the laboratory. In the real world, fear may also be acquired by a traumatic accident. For example, if a child falls into a well and struggles to get out, he or she may develop a fear of wells, enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) or of water (aquaphobia).
Researchers have found that certain fears (e.g. animals, heights) are much more common than others (e.g. flowers, clouds). They are also much easier to induce in the laboratory. This phenomenon has been called preparedness. Physiologically, the fear response is linked to activity in the amygdala of the limbic system.
The experience of fear may also be influenced by social norms and values. In the early 20th century, many people feared polio, a disease which cripples the body part it affects, leaving the body part immobilized for the rest of one's life.
- Freedom from Fear: Taking Back Control of Your Life and Dissolving Depression: a book review. This book is about depression: how to avoid it, how to recover from it and in particular, the role that fear plays in it.
- Quotations on Fear
- The Smell of Fear, a Research Study
- Catholic Encyclopedia "Fear (in Canon Law)"
- Catholic Encyclopedia "Fear (from a Moral Standpoint)"
- How Stuff Works - Fear
- Fearless News - An online community collecting statistics on fear in mass media
- Transcending Fear Organization - educational organization dedicated to fear education
- Neurobiology of Fear
scaring in Arabic: خوف
scaring in Bulgarian: Страх
scaring in Catalan: Por
scaring in Czech: Strach
scaring in Welsh: Ofn
scaring in German: Furcht
scaring in Estonian: Hirm
scaring in Modern Greek (1453-): Φόβος
scaring in Spanish: Miedo
scaring in Esperanto: Timo
scaring in Persian: ترس
scaring in French: Peur
scaring in Galician: Medo
scaring in Croatian: Strah
scaring in Ido: Pavoro
scaring in Inuktitut: ᐃᓂᖅᑐᐃᒍᑎ/iniqtuiguti
scaring in Icelandic: Ótti
scaring in Italian: Paura
scaring in Hebrew: פחד
scaring in Lithuanian: Baimė
scaring in Dutch: Angst
scaring in Japanese: 恐怖
scaring in Norwegian: Frykt
scaring in Polish: Strach
scaring in Portuguese: Medo
scaring in Romanian: Frică
scaring in Quechua: Manchakuy
scaring in Russian: Страх
scaring in Sicilian: Scantu
scaring in Simple English: Fear
scaring in Slovak: Strach
scaring in Serbian: Страх
scaring in Finnish: Pelko
scaring in Swedish: Rädsla
scaring in Ukrainian: Страх
scaring in Yiddish: שרעק
scaring in Samogitian: Baimės
scaring in Chinese: 敬畏