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How hardwired are we against threats?: An EDA study comparing modern and evolutionary fear-relevant stimuli.
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. (Consciousness and cognitive neuroscience research group)
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The threat superiority effect refers to an ability to quickly and efficiently detect threatening cues in one’s environment. Hence, ensuing and appropriate behavioral defense responses entail greater chances of survival for an organism. Some researchers argue that natural selection has led us to automatically prioritize threats that would have been salient during the period of evolutionary adaptation; as for example snakes. However, others have also argued that activation of our defense response system is more flexible, thus able to also be triggered to dangers of more recent age: such as guns or airplane crashes. The present study has sought to impact this debate, by measuring the electrodermal activity (EDA) – more specifically the skin conductance responses (SCRs) – of subjects who were visually presented with both evolutionary (snakes and spiders) and modern (guns and knives) fear-relevant stimuli. The results demonstrated no significant difference between the two categories within subjects, suggesting that both evolutionary and modern threatening cues activate the defense response system in a similar manner. Although the results are preliminary, and would need further verification in higher powered studies, they can be seen to favor the view that our defense response system is flexibly adaptive in relation to the age of a given threat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
Threats, Evolution, Fear, EDA, SCRs
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-13141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-13141DiVA: diva2:1049902
Subject / course
Cognitive Science
Educational program
Mind, Brain and Wellbeing - Master’s Programme 60 ECTS
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-02-20 Created: 2016-11-26 Last updated: 2017-02-20Bibliographically approved

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fulltext(1224 kB)59 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf