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For all the listers out there[edit]

The place for lists is in the article -phob- and not elsewhere... Thanks. Undead Herle King (talk) 22:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Quoting Yoda[edit]

Should we really be quoting yoda?

What do you have against Yoda? -Whats a question?


This is a dictionary entry. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. If you're going to turn a word like this into an article, or some semblance of an article, please make sure you have something more constructive to say than a simple definition.

Removed:SV(talk) 01:23, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC) "The opposite is confidence. Self-confidence is confidence in oneself, i.e. in one's abilities and worth, including the abilitiy to cope with one's limitations and problems. Unjustified confidence can cause problems."

Why does self confidence redirect here? --Tubby 19:16, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

it would be great if there was a paragraph about how fear can be used to manipulate someone or a group (or an entire population(using say, terrorism by both the terrorist and the governement))

The first paragraph is over-simplified, while the very next paragraph is OVER-complex. Poor flow, says I. Further, does the height of the bridge in the first example have to be so extreme?

Hebrew Definition of Fear[edit]

<Commenting on the phrase in FearFear is an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, whether it be real or imagined. Fear also can be described as a feeling of extreme dislike to some conditions/objects, such as: fear of darkness, fear of ghosts, etc. It is one of the basic emotions.>

The Hebrew word translated as fear is yir-aw', Gesenius's Strong's Concordance:3374— fear, reverence, holy, dreadful. The root is yaw-ray', Gesenius's Strong:3372—to fear, to revere, to frighten. Based on this etymology, the fear is like that of, say, touching an active electrical wire, fearing an undertow at the beach, or passing a red light.
The fear, or awe, stems from knowing the consequences of an act. The translation "to fear the Lord" is unfortunate; better would be "awe of the Lord". Yesselman 21:15, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

A Basic Explanation of How Fear Intensifies[edit]

I'm not sure if this really belongs here, but I was just thinking about fear and I hadn't really seen this posted anywhere, so I figured I would add my two cents. Just a few notes about fear:

Fear, as a reaction, is brought about by a plethora of stimuli. Namely, anything that would cause the brain to perceive risk or danger. This is a natural evolutionary reaction in place for the sole reason of keeping the body alive.

The other part of fear relates to intensification which leads to greater fear. This natural stimulus is helpful in avoidance of damage; therefore, if perception is limited, fear will intensify and the mind will create certain possible courses of action that are designed to remove the body from a harmful situation and return them to a safe situation.

The point could be explained by an experiment as follows- tell somebody that a killer is in the neighborhood, and they'll probably get scared to a degree. After telling the subject this, tell them to cover their ears. After that, touch them and tell them to cover their ears or eyes. If they comply, tell them you're going to leave and do so. This experiment works best if the subject is not in a group of numbers, because numbers not only reduce the possiblity of damage do to overpowering, but also reduce the percentage of damage for the subject. For example, if you have 10 people together, along with a maniac who has a gun, and wants to kill one of them, the subject will have a better chance of survival than if he were the only target. Therefore, numbers reduce fear.

After the investigator leaves, they should stage a simple sound or clatter loud enough to be perceived by the subject. The subject will almost definately open their eyes, uncover their ears and look around warily, since this is an obvious danger. But WHY is it an obvious danger? Because of the association with memory. The investigator told them that a killer was supposedly nearby. The subject had most likely heard about murders before, and may have watched horror movies. Due to this, their mind probably depicted or reminded the person in question about certain events which could occur, and, as a reaction, the person became uncomfortable and probably wanted to escape to a safer situation- most likely, leaving the room with the investigator. If the subject had any type of defensive apparatus that would lead to increased safety- such as a gun, security system, or guard dog, for instance- that subject may be somewhat afraid but not nearly as afraid as the subject without the defensive measure.

The point, which has taken a long while to articulate, is as follows: Deny a human any one sense and fear will intensify. The reason for this intensification is logical- perceived dangers can do more damage and have a greater probability of doing more damage if one cannot their senses fully.

This is a pretty obvious point, but I just wanted to post it so that somebody with better writing and a more scientific explanation could put the above thoughts into sequence. Hope I didn't post this erroneously or in a wrong spot... Robinson0120 23:47, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Article structure[edit]

This article could use quite a bit of clean up.

I would suggest that the first thing that is listed should be the medical/physical description of fear, including a brief overview of the reactions that the various hormones (epinephrine, norepinephrine, the steroid cortisol etc.) each cause, the role of the amygdala etc.

needless sentence[edit]

"In 2005, University of Toronto researchers traced the origin of memories to the prefrontal cortex of the brain"

What does that have to do with fear?

it's got nothing to do with it whatso ever!

Biological reason for fear[edit]

Does anyone know where in the brain fear is said to originate ie, which part of the brain is the main area where the precursors for fear are created? I was told once it was the primitive portion of the brain but I don't know what it is called, I assume it is near the neo-cortex, but being the title of the neo-cortex is basically new cortex, I assume there is an old cortex?

I think the hippocampus is somehow involved in this...gotta look up me textbook, but god is it looooooooong.


basis of all emotions[edit]

I agree with a previous comment on fear being the basis of all human emotion. Despite the numerous names given to the various emotions, each emotion can be placed on a continuum between fear and comfort, or complete lack of fear. This applies to any emotion, whether it is confidence (believing you will not experience fear), or frustration (being unable to remove fear and achieve comfort). I know this may sound peculiar, but this is not a new idea. Even the movie Donnie Darko has made reference to fear being the root of all emotion to some degree. Perhaps someone more knowledgable in human emotion could expand upon this idea in the future.

Sure. This image is a link to an emotion theory Subjations.
In it fear is simply defined as excessive worry. I know this doesn't sound
intuitive but I can explain. Fear is one of the anxiety emotions on the unhappiness side.
The list of these are concern, worry, fear and terror. Worry is the anticipation of
unhappiness. Concern is mild worry. Fear is excessive worry and terror is extreme fear.
To prove this point all one has to do is take a sentence with one of these emotions in it
and substitute one of the other of these emotions in this list in its place. The sentence
will always still work. For example, "I am afraid of the bear." could be, "I am
concerned of the bear," or, "I am worried of the bear," or, "I am terrified of
the bear." These statements are similar, they only differ in intensity.
Many others also believe fear is the basis of all human emotion. If you like you can see this
From the POV of the discussion above however, this is not so. If anything one would say
that worry is more fundamental than fear is. JHuber 21:25, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
That's a very interesting theory, but it sounds like original research to me. If there are substantial scientific sources that think the same way, than of course such views may be added to the article. On the other hand, I'm quite sure substantial scientific sources exist that do NOT see the spectrum of human emotions as such one-dimensional scale between fear and comfort. How about melancholy or pitty? Anyway; as long as you have sources for it, why not add it to the article? But be sure to say something along the lines of "Some think that..." + Sources! rather than just presenting it as a given fact. RagingR2 09:28, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
There are no scientific sources about emotion theory. Emotions are not measureable.
I did include examples to prove my point, you'll just have to reason for yourself their
validity. If you have a better idea, let's hear it. This is a talk page. JHuber 20:58, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Weasel Words[edit]

There are some weasel words at the beginning of the article.

"Some philosophers... other thinkers... still others..."

Where are the specifics?


no discussion of theories about fear?

Degrees and Causes[edit]

Degrees of Fear

Perhaps the mildest form of fear is Care, in that we take care to avoid pain or suffering in ourselves or others, such as child care. If we should fail to take due care we may be guilty at law.

Causes of Fear The experience of pain is a classic cause of fear. Some of these fears are based on classical conditioning. This fear is adapting or phasic (operating similar to phasic receptor) and the example of bombing in World War II is an good example where the initial fear is extinguished because the stimulus, the bomb blast, was not matched with pain or suffering (at least by those gossipping on street corners).

But some primitive, and primary evolutionary fears requires no previous painful experience or conditioning; although, to develop into a phobia, they often involve un-associated pain even some hours from the exposure (that is, not contiguous as required in classical conditioning). These are often the source of clinical phobias. Examples evolutionary fears are fear of suffocation (claustrophobia), abandonment and agoraphobia, heights, deep water, animals and insects, and helplessness (Fear of flying in an aeroplane is thought to be a secondary manifestation of this. Pilots can have a fear of flying if they are not the pilot. Hostage and kidnapped victims suffer this fear.) (See Martin Seligman, What You Can Change and What You Can't)

This bit in the article is pop-psych/philosophy and should be removed: Fear is the lack of love. Love of oneself and others. The root of this lack of love for self and others brings with it all the underpinnings of evil that we humans experience in our relationships (personal and groups). If you trace the root cause of all things evil you will find a deep fear of loss, loss of love in ones being which goes unsatisfied and always seeking to fill this void. But the opposite of fear is love which gives us fullfillment and peace. Letting go of fear can only be truly done by filling the void with love. Science has shown fear to be more intimately linked with survival. Love has been linked to the benefits of social groups for survival. The theory above is metaphysical and epistemically unsound:

Social inhibition also is a fear, but is probably just another manifestation fear of abandonment.

Social inhibition is a symptom of anxiety, which is closely tied to fear, but its mention and exposition in this article (in its present form) would be out of place: it's too specific. The entire entry is in need of some narrowing, but only after a prerequisite dose of broadening at its trunk. ZeroMalone (talk) 04:59, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

The article claims that fear is "an emotional response to impending danger", however, isn't it possible to be aware that something is dangerous without being afraid of it? Someone that is fearless (without ignorance or stupidity) is aware that he can be harmed, but does not fear the things that can harm him. 05:49, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Moral and Legal sections unoriginal[edit]

I was mystified by the abrupt shift in usage in the "Moral" and "Legal" considerations sections; in fact I don't believe that the average Wiki user would be interested in these sections at all outside of the context in which the text was almost directly lifted: from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Words were omitted in the wiki entry but the bulk of the text is just copied. I suggest they be rewritten or simply removed. 22:36, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Removed quotes[edit]

Quotes belong to wikiquote. I removed the section from the article. `'mikka 23:26, 27 December 2006 (UTC)


  • "Perfect love casts out fear." - The Bible - 1 John, chapter 4, verse 18
  • "From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved." - Machiavelli
  • "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin Roosevelt
  • "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." - Dorothy Thompson
  • "Fear has been the original parent of superstition, and every new calamity urges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of their invisible enemies." - Edward Gibbon.<Gibbon, Edward, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XI: Reign Of Claudius, Defeat Of The Goths, Part II, Superstitious ceremonies

. [1]>

  • "Jonathan Livingston Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed." - Richard Bach <Bach, Richard, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 1970. Cf. Part One. [2]>
  • "The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear" - Aung San Suu Kyi
  • "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown"-H.P. Lovecraft
  • "I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings."-Max Payne

In relation to courage:

  • "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."-Ambrose Redmoon
  • "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave."-Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, 1894

Someone please rewrite, remove or cite reference ...[edit]

Will someone PLEASE take the following sentence off or change it, under the section "Causes". There is no basis for it without a citation:

"The experience of fear may also be influenced by social norms and values. In 19th century Britain, one of the biggest fears was of dying poor, unmourned, unremembered, and possibly ending up on an anatomist's dissection table.[citation needed]"

fear and respect[edit]

dose fear sometimes make you respect someone

No, respect is when you enjoy someone for who they are and what they do. You will be kind to and do what a person you respect tells you out of that respect alone. On the other hand, fear just results in you doing and saying respectful things to someone out of the desire not to be harmed in some way. A classic example is a ruler that punishes everyone that opposes him; the people will do what he says simply to avoid being punished. 05:43, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Learned VS Inhereted?[edit]

I'd like to see more in this article about which fears are learned and/or which fears are inhereted. I remember once reading or hearing that there are only a few fears that are inhereted in humans (if I remember correctly the fear of very loud sounds, and the fear of rapidly approaching objects), and that all other fears are learned, either by experience (fire, heights) or by social factors (spiders, snakes, skeletons). Right now I cannot find a decent source for it anywhere, but if people know more about this subject, or can find a decent scientific article about it or something like that, please contribute! Greetings, RagingR2 09:21, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Terrible introduction, recent edits, and fear's irrationality[edit]

Three topics today: Firstly, the intro is pretty bad. "Terrible" may be an overstatement, but... it just doesn't work. I'll add comments to it in {braces}.

Fear is an emotional response to impending danger, that is tied to anxiety {incorrect grammar (comma), but I don't want to change it for fear of changing the meaning. Is this even accurate?}. Most fear is usually connected to pain (i.e., some fear heights because if they fall, when they land, they will be in great pain) {unnecessary, or at least badly worded, example. But isn't fear more related to death? People aren't scared of psychopaths because of the agony of lying wounded, but because of death. And isn't there an undeniable irrationality to fear? See below}. Behavioral theorists, like Watson and Ekman, have both suggested that fear, along with a few other basic emotions (e.g., joy and anger) {this sentence is incomplete due to a sloppy removal of an uncited statement (see below). The remainder was "is a trait innate to most higher functioning organisms." To my knowledge, this is true, so we need to find a citation for it, rather than deleting it.} Fear is a survival mechanism, and usually occurs in response to a specific negative stimulus.

Secondly: some recent edits. Here's one: [3]. This person took out some uncited stuff. But the first two, at least, seem to be important, so can anyone find citations so we can restore these? Another: the "In Popular Culture" section. I think that one should go, but I'll ask for a second opinion. And another (possibly not recent): that fear-o-meter thing, and the preceding couple of paragraphs. It's completely uncited, and could really use some citations.

Number 3, there needs to be some discussion of the irrationality of fear. I know my psychology textbook discusses it, but I don't know enough (yet, anyway) to write anything in the article. People dying in violent, unusual, or spectacular ways, and people dying in numbers, are much more scary. For example, the beltway sniper attacks caused a huge wave of panic in the Washington, D.C. area, despite the fact that more people probably died commuting to and from work during the same period. The Virginia Tech shootings dominated the news (in America, at least) for a week, despite the fact that more Americans die from handguns every day than in the one incident. And, of course, there's the example of 9/11: in the months afterward, traffic fatalities spiked, and (I think) 800 people more than usual died in car crashes, rather than take an airplane. Even without 9/11, people are more scared of planes than cars, because they ride planes more rarely, and plane crashes kill a lot of people at once in a huge crash/explosion. And, of course, there's the illusion that you're safer when you're in control (in a car, for example), rather than when others are, as in a plane. Obviously, there's a lot of psychology going on with all this, and an explanation would be nice. I gave the examples (and might be able to cite them), but I can't (yet) explain them... so... any takers? Twilight Realm 22:32, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

A question[edit]

This article talks about the type of fear coming from impending pain, but what about fear of say a scary movie. Being suprised by say someone dressing up as a monster, or simply a lamp falling at night. Thanks. -- 20:58, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Being startled, in other words. It should be discussed, I agree. I guess it could be said that something startling provokes an automated response to prepare your body for whatever it was that startled you, just in case it's dangerous--in which case it is, in a way, fear due to anticipation. But I agree, being startled is something different, which needs to be addressed. Twilight Realm (talk) 03:43, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation pages[edit]

Is it just me, or are does this article suffer from an unusually large number of disambiguation links...

For other uses, see Fear (disambiguation).
"Fears" redirects here. For other uses, see Fears (disambiguation).
"Afraid" redirects here. For other uses, see Afraid (disambiguation).
"Fear of the unknown" redirects here. For other uses, see Fear of the unknown (disambiguation).

Would it be possible to combine some of these? --Jcbutler (talk) 18:57, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Is there such a thing as "fear"?[edit]

Is there any way to prove that fear actually exists? Shouldn't we consider that there is no real basis for this idea? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Climenole (talkcontribs) 09:10, 4 October 2008 (UTC)


I've been doing some extensive revisions lately. I cleaned up the "fear of death" section, but I'm not convinced that it belongs in this article. This is really a matter of death anxiety, not fear, given the distinction between fear and anxiety that is made in the introduction. Maybe we should move this material to the anxiety article. --Jcbutler (talk) 18:33, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Picture of fear[edit]

I feel that the picture on Fear is too terrifying for the page. It's very distracting to someone who is fearful and wants to learn about what affects them. While it shows what fear "looks" like, I'm sure most people already know this. Hmm, irony isn't the proper term for this situation, is it...? Paperxcrip (talk) 14:59, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

that picture of fear is sooooo scary!![edit]

that picture of the scared guy scared the shock out of me!! take it off! take it off! take it off!!! are you guys trying to send me on an ambulance or what!? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:07, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

See? Someone agrees with me! Paperxcrip (talk) 16:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Theory on fear of death removed[edit]

I removed a paragraph in the fear and death section that had no citation and sounded suspiciously like a baseless claim. If anyone could provide a reference, it would be great to rewrite and reinsert; otherwise, it is merely an opinion. I think most people would agree with it and it could be developed well, so I've copied it (with orig. errors) below.
"Another common theory that is sometimes recognized is that people fear death because they do not know what happens afterwards.Though some people have a religion or a preconceived cognation of what will happen after death. They fear death because they cling to life and enjoy too much to let it go."
Belovedeagle (talk) 21:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

The top of "Fear"[edit]

What is going on with the very top of the page? Something about Paranormal Activity. That top section should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 28 February 2010 (UTC) fear is'nt a bad thing

Abi Ghraib picture[edit]

IS this necessary to put on the article of fear? I sense indirect slander instead of contributing to the article. A more general picture should be used instead or none at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Transkar (talkcontribs) 08:35, 10 April 2010 (UTC) That picture is disgraceful and should be removed- what is wrong with you people? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Fear according to Vivekananda[edit]

In the book "The Master As I Saw Him", Nivedita tells us about what Vivekananda told about fear of ghosts: "We fear of ghosts, but we should know that what we fear from is not a ghost, it is our mental perception or imagination. We shall have no fear when we really meet the Ghost(Atma)."--Soumit Banerjee (talk) 10:43, 6 December 2010 (UTC)


We need to list and describe symptoms of fear- its what I came here for - or guid eht reader to a suitable list elsewhere. We have defined where fear comes from in the brain and what causes it, but not what it IS/DOES to us.

  • raise heart rate
  • goosebumps
  • poo yourself
  • whatever

IceDragon64 (talk) 22:50, 23 March 2011 (UTC)


The Greek etymology is indeed ridiculous! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:37, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Fear of heights[edit]

Why is a picture of someone's shoes on a tile floor a good example of a fear of heights? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

I wondered that too. Having looked at the max-resolution version of the picture, I can see that he is actually standing on a mesh floor (presumably on some high structure) rather than tiles. It still doesn't illustrate fear of hights though. (talk) 21:27, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

In need of proofreading.[edit]

There are many typographical errors throughout this article. Someone should proofread it. (talk) 03:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)


Fear is a thread happens whenever thinking that situation is not able to face it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Krishlakshmanan (talkcontribs) 16:41, 23 October 2012 (UTC)


First you have to understand the nature of fear or fear. Fear equals faith, but faith is twisted. The person feels fear of a situation is a bad outcome considering instead of believing that things will go well.

Put another way, it's a battle of the mind. When faced with a new challenge in life, such as a business in which we wish to undertake, begins a real battle versus negative thoughts thoughts of victory in our mind. This battle is exacerbated in situations of extreme stress on our lives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Smell, olfactory, odor, communication of fear?[edit]

Serious question! Some evidence, at least, suggests that animals and humans emit some particular chemical when frightened, and then other ones of the same type can detect it and smell it. Some of the evidence can easily be shown to lie in the realm of fiction. I am absolutely not an expert on any of the particular evidence, but I am pretty sure this might be a very important part of the article that is utterly missing, apparently. Thinkadoodle (talk) 18:58, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

It is a very good question, but unfortunately I don't know the first thing about this. I have also asked your question on Talk:Animal communication. Let us hope some editor shows up who knows more about this. Lova Falk talk 08:22, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Thinkadoodle, I've added a section on alarm pheromones (fearomones -:), which might interest you, after I saw your post and reflected on the common knowledge of "fear is contagious". Absolutely no fiction, ancient heavy hardwired stuff that connects us with all that lives.--Wuerzele (talk) 18:15, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Not a good article for such a major topic[edit]

Poorly composed, fully of grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies, and generally a disaster, it's hard to know where to start. I'm afraid this needs a gut rewrite. (talk) 21:23, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

changed to a less trollish title for the thread, guess there are a lot of crappy articles here, the better ones maybe raise false expectations for what a mass edited venue can provide on an arbitrary topic. Does need work though. (talk) 21:37, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Section on fear and religion[edit]

I am relatively new to contributing, but wrote "citation needed" at the end of the fear and religion section. The article mentions that innocent women were burned alive during the Salem Witch Trials. I believe this to be inaccurate, as hanging was the chosen method of execution. (talk) 17:53, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Upon further review, the last sentence under religion and fear suffers the women accused of witchcraft were filled with fear and hanged as a result. The sentence is illogical. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

flag for etymology section to be moved out[edit]

I do not agree with the editor suggesting today, that the etymology section should be moved out to the wictionary. It would be a loss here. Most often wictionary is very sparsely populated and so I for one hardly even check it for any page. I would consider the move almost a content fork, because this is such a primeval topic. --Wuerzele (talk) 22:39, 10 February 2015 (UTC)