Scientists have discovered that fear resides in one specific part of the brain. When a particular part of a monkey’s brains is removed, it becomes fearless, and it approaches snakes, for instance, without its usual trepidation. Could those among us who seem fearless (soldiers, for example), have weaker amygdalas than the rest of us?
In the December 21st edition of the New York Times, Sindya N. Bhanoo quotes neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein as saying, "There’s not very many humans with this sort of brain damage." But Feinstein discovered a woman with a rare brain condition that gave her holes where her amygdala would be. She walked through a park alone one night and was attacked by a man with a knife, but that didn’t stop her, Feinstein says, "The following day, she again walked through the same park." Basic training in the future may include altering the "fear" part of the brain–temporarily, at least.
The Times quotes Feinstein as saying, "We may be able to dampen the effects of the amygdala. We can do that through psychotherapy and possibly through medication."
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