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Research Proposal: The Psychology of Fear

In psychological terms, fear can be defined as "an intense emotional state caused by specific external stimuli and associated with avoidance, self-defense and escape," and bound together with joy and anger, fear is one of the primary human emotions (Gower, 2003, 167). As opposed to anxiety, fear generally refers to feelings created by tangible and realistic dangers which arise out of proportion to the actual threat, meaning that fear is quite often an unfounded emotional response with no basis in reality.
Overall, fear may be brought on by exposure to a traumatic situation, such as participating in war or surviving an automobile accident, or by observing other people expressing fear, such as with an audience reacting to what they see on the screen during the showing of a horror film. Physiologically, when a person experiences fear there occurs numerous changes in the body, including an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, tenseness or trembling of the muscles and increased sweating. Also, fear may be based on either subjective or objective factors. With thefirst, a person experiences a buildup of tension, apprehension, terror, panic and decreased self-assurance, while the second may include increased alertness and a concentration on or withdrawal from the source of the fear (Gower, 2003, 189).
Thus, the proposed paper will focus on the psychology of fear, beginning with the earliest discussions on this fascinating emotion offered by the ancient Greeks and then proceed through the centuries to the present day with an emphasis on the thoughts of some of the most important
and prominent psychologists of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Abraham Maslow, Alfred
Adler, Jacques Lacan, B.F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud. The proposed paper will also explore the psychological foundations of fear, beginning with the Greek Stoics and the Epicureans who saw fear as composed of a number of emotions, such as &qu

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