Our new era of anxiety – Neuroscience – Salon.com

4 Jun

The article reports high levels of anxiety in the contemporary world. Would more dancing, singing, and grooving help cut that down?

While evolution programmed anxious emotions to arise in threatening and uncertain situations, culture helps define what particular objects and situations people consider to be dangerous, what cues activate their fear responses, and what sorts of things they worry about as well as the degree of intensity or duration with which one should respond. For example, while witchcraft is a common source of anxiousness in many African societies, it is unlikely to be a source of fear in modern Western cultures. Witch fear is seen as reasonable in the former but not the latter. Fears of being buried alive dominated nineteenth century consciousness in the United Kingdom and United States but would be extremely rare at present; conversely, food allergies, a rare source of anxiousness in the past, are a dominant source of worry in the contemporary United States.

via Our new era of anxiety – Neuroscience – Salon.com.


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