The Boston Globe:
Lisa Feldman Barrett thinks we’ve long misunderstood how our brains work — and what’s going on when we’re stressed.
For decades, scientists have assumed that the brain simply responded to signs from the outside world: See tiger coming; get anxious. But instead, Barrett, a Northeastern University professor, argues in a new paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience that most of our anxieties are triggered not by danger in front of us but the anticipation or fear of it: Worry tiger might appear; get stressed.
Such a response makes a lot of sense in a world where you may need to run away from fast-moving tigers.
It can cause problems for us today, though, where everything from a shadow to a flashing siren, while not really threatening, could seem that way.
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