Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - 24

Our logical brains can calculate the very low odds that
our plane will crash or that
we'll be stuck in an elevator. Humans
are uniquely able to assess risk and can
reason, and yet, scientists say, our emotions and fear often are louder than our
logic. And that is why, even though we
know we might never get a rare disease
or ride a train that jumps the tracks, we
still fear those things and might even
change our behavior in an attempt
to avoid them altogether.
"It's not bizarre or crazy. It's
characteristic of all life forms, that
their fear mechanism drives their
response," says Marc K. Siegel, MD,
a physician and the author of False
Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic
of Fear. That's because, he says, "we
are derived from beings that were
always in a sense of impending doom."
We are holdovers from another
era, when a twig snapping beyond the
campfire might have signaled real danger: a toothed predator approaching.
Thankfully, we are no longer hunted
in the wild. But we continue to experience fight-or-flight reactions to things
even when there is no reasonable risk,
Siegel says.
People think their fear is rational, but it's often not, Siegel says.
Humans understand the concept
of risk assessment, but they're not
always great at the execution.
"Humans are unique in
that we can reason our
way through this," he adds.
"But we have to first
understand our fear."

24

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - 2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - 3
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - 4
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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