By Hal Marcovitz

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Albert may have been tion to a threat. frightened when Watson and Raynor clanged the iron bar behind his head, but it is also possible that Albert’s amygdalae and hippocampus were not working in sync and that his serotonin was seriously out of balance. Also, Albert’s ancestors may have been afraid of rodents. And had Albert been a young girl, there may have been social factors involved in her irrational fear of that little white rat. “ ” 43 “ ” Primary Source Quotes* What Causes Phobias? “ White rat suddenly taken from the basket and presented to Albert.

But science has also shown that while an adult’s phobia of dogs may stem from an incident in which he or she was chased or bitten by a dog in childhood, that unfortunate incident in the individual’s past is not the only cause. ” Physiological Factors In recent years physicians have studied the amygdalae, the almondshaped components of the brain that control many emotions, including 40 What Causes Phobias? the reaction to fear. Each person has two—they are located a few inches from the ears. It is the amygdalae that signal the body to respond to fear, causing the heart to beat faster, lungs to work harder, sweat glands to kick in, and so on.

My dad had to stop eating and catching it. ” —Gareth Brennan, quoted in Lucy Elkins, “How I Overcame My Fish Phobia,” Daily Mail, April 17, 2007. uk. Brennan, a professional singer who lives in Great Britain, suffered from ichthyophobia, or a fear of fish. 31 Facts and Illustrations What Are Phobias? • A 2007 survey of childhood fears by the University of Sheffield in England found that all 250 children who participated in the study were afraid of clowns. • American Family Physician magazine reports that most cases of social phobia develop between the ages of 11 and 19 and that people over the age of 25 rarely exhibit their first symptoms of social phobia.

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Phobias by Hal Marcovitz


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