I have been anticipating this special edition magazine release since February, and it’s finally here, though I had to search for it at twelve different Hudson Booksellers in airport terminals, and pay a hefty price of eight dollars plus tax. Over the next two weeks, I will highlight each article, many of which are excerpts from newly-released pop neuroscience books that way you don’t have to pay eight dollars and/or be subjected to additional impulse buys. The first article, is an excerpt from Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger by Jeff Wise, which dissects the flight, fright, fight,…..and sex syndrome using a water quality specialist’s confrontation with a mountain lion as a realistic (almost extremely realistic) example.
FREEZE/FRIGHT: Breathing and heart rate slow, deeply-rooted, archaic brain structures lying in or within proximity to the brainstem, the periaqueductal grey, superior colliculus, and amygdala are highly active, facilitating immobility, hyperattentiveness, and threat assessment, respectively. This was when the woman noticed a ravenous mountain lion staring at her a few hundred feet away.
FLIGHT: Epinephrine is immediately and globally released (the beauty of the hormonal response), mobilizing energy, desensitizing oneself to pain, and expediting pre-motor planning. This was when the mountain lion attacked.
FIGHT: Activation of the periaqueductal grey dually promotes aggression and analgesia, optimizing performance during pugilism. This was when the woman stabbed the cat with her surgical-steel hemostat.