Bennett Levy Context and Aims

  • Created by: alice
  • Created on: 06-04-12 14:02

Evolutionary psychology suggests certain fears are adaptive behaviours that helped our distant ancestors survive. If we are extremely fearful of an animal and we try to get away from it, we are unlikely to be hurt. The fears that were important to our ancestors may lie dormant in our brains 

Seligman proposed the concept of biological preparedness. This meant an inherited predisposition to fear certain classes of animals, for example snakes or spiders. Fears of animals is not matched by a traumatic experience: people may fear spiders despite having no actual contact to have triggered the fear. 

Bennett Levy & Marteau identified 4 pieces of evidence in favour of preparedness:

1) Fears often appear very early in life, reaching a peak at around the age of 4, this consistency would be unlikely to arise if their developing fears were related to their encounters. This suggests instead their fears have innate origins.

2) Fears are not related to actual negative experiences with a species, this


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