Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Speed of Fear

"And this unconscious processing of frightening stimuli happens much more quickly than our conscious processing of it. To become consciously aware of a particular stimulus takes 250-300 milliseconds, says LeDoux. But a fear-evoking stimulus can reach the amygdala in a mere 12 milliseconds, which is evolutionarily advantageous if one's response time means the difference between life and death."

This is so important to keep in mind when dealing with someone with PTSD, for example. By the time their conscious mind gets its hands on the information in the stimulus, the fear response is already well on its way.


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