Phobias and preparedness

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According to the theory of evolution, a scared animal would be more likely to survive, because it would be less likely to get trapped and die. This shows that some behaviours are adaptive, that is, they can help an animal to survive. It also shows that sometimes being afraid is useful.

However, we have irrational fears about objects or situations that are not dangerous.

We can use evolution to explain irrational phobias:

Seligman (1971) suggested that we learn links between some things more easily than between others. Evolution seems to have 'prepared' us to learn about things that are threatening…


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