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Silly question

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(Posted in the wrong section I know. Wasn't sure where to put this) Anyway,

Are we born afraid of the dark like we supposedly are of spiders and snakes? I'm just curious if we are or if it's just something that comes from watching too many scary movies or something.

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I would say that we are definitely not born being afraid of the dark. I don't think we're born being afraid of anything. A baby isn't afraid of being hurt until someone gives him a reason to be.

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The fear of the dark is a common fear among children and to a varying degree is observed for adults. Fear of the dark is usually not fear of the darkness itself, but fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by the darkness.[1] Some degree of fear of the dark is natural, especially as a phase of child development.[2] Most observers report that fear of the dark seldom appears before the age of 2 years.[3] When fear of the dark reaches a degree that is severe enough to be considered pathological, it is sometimes called nyctophobia, scotophobia, or lygophobia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_the_dark

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Think of it this way... Inside the womb a baby is comfy, happy, and totally at ease. Yet it is total darkness.

It's the scary movies and stories that does it.

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Think of it this way... Inside the womb a baby is comfy, happy, and totally at ease. Yet it is total darkness.

It's the scary movies and stories that does it.

Good reply. :tu: I think I started getting afraid of the dark when I started watching scary films at the age of six. I believe it was American werewolf in London that did it for me, haha! I still don't like the dark much now. The worst for me is driving in the countryside at night. But that's mainly because there's so many ghost stories about people seeing things on the roads round my area.

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I would say that we are definitely not born being afraid of the dark. I don't think we're born being afraid of anything. A baby isn't afraid of being hurt until someone gives him a reason to be.

I always thought we were born to fear something that same way as we are born feeling love, happiness, etc.

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Not to mention the fact that humans are not traditionally adapted nocturnal creatures, so the fact that we have limited visual ability in low light situations does lend a bit of reality to the fact that their might exist predators in the dark concealed that wish to do us harm.

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Fear of the dark is usually not fear of the darkness itself, but fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by the darkness.

I agree with that completely. I used to shut my eyes when walking through a very dark room out of fear. Why did I do that? Fear of seeing something creeping in the unknown. Funny how I went from that to having absolutely no fear of the dark at all. Seemed to happen overnight.

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I think that when a baby is born it fears, unless it is surrounded by sights sounds and smells of comfort and love. Parents/adults will try to stimulate the childs senses and entertain them.

However as the child grows, in the stillness and quiet and dark and being alone, the child becomes frightened of the unknown.

It is the fear of being alone with something that is intangible.

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Not to mention the fact that humans are not traditionally adapted nocturnal creatures, so the fact that we have limited visual ability in low light situations does lend a bit of reality to the fact that their might exist predators in the dark concealed that wish to do us harm.

I agree with Mike on this one - possibly a vestigal evolutionary holdover, but exacerbated by factors and influences like TV, Movies, etc?

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I agree that fear of the dark is probably a learned behavior. I've known people that have true phobias. The parents of those people sometimes also have phobias: in one family I know, the grandfather has had a life-long fear of bridges. Before leaving on a road trip, he'll look at a road atlas to find the best route for avoiding roads that cross bridges. That man's son has a phobia about snakes, and in turn, that man's daughters had a phobia about dogs until they visited my place and saw their cousins playing with my dogs. The idea that there is always something to fear goes from generation to generation, at least in that family's case.

I used to be afraid of snakes until I began catching them with my hands and letting them wrap around my arms. I forced myself to conquer the fear because I just thought it silly for a grown man to let fear dictate his life. I might feel differently if I were to someday step on a rattlesnake.

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Fear of the dark is a natural/evolutionary thing because we can't see as well in the dark as the daylight plus there are a lot of animals and things that are nocturnal and harder for us to spot. I guess on a psychological level it's also the fear of the unknown. Fear of the dark is a natural defense mechanism the same as fear in general because it helps keep us alive and safe. This is probably like I don't like being in really deep water because I can't see very far down and I don't know what's lurking down there. :unsure:

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Posted (edited)

I think one of the parts of the brain that develops somewhere in early childhood/babyhood is the ability to recognize and attempt to avoid fast oncoming things. Because we do not have perfect vision when in dark places the mind often can and does play tricks on the observer. I remember quite clearly opening my eyes in dark rooms and seeing some scary ghost or dark creeper moving quickly to me.

Anyway, I think it's the brain's ability to start sorting out the unknown that begins the fear of dark. From an evolutionary perspective it is safer to assume that what is unknown is dangerous.

Edit: I assume that a large part of brain development occurs when one is asleep. As a result waking up out of sleep if some part of the brain is being exercised or growing it will most probably be active when waking up out of sleep. As a result - scary things in dark.

Edited by PsiSeeker

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Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark. But they're wrong- cos it's not irrational. It's Vashta Nerada.

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I sometimes think it is, possibly, a species specific thing to be afraid of certain things.

Take spider, for example, I think many people have a fear of them because maybe there is a ancestral fear -so to speak- because spiders can be dangerous, especially those little ones.

Maybe some are more, dare I say, attuned, to such ancestral or biological memories.

The dark is a condition that hides potential enemies/predators and if you are one of those non-nocturnal creatures then biological memories might tell you that dangers can be more prevalent at that time.

Fear is a natural condition, I think. When one feels threatened then one often feels fear, especially if one perceives the threat as something that cannot be escaped from.

I forced myself to conquer the fear because I just thought it silly for a grown man to let fear dictate his life.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid and in fact I respect a person more when they can simply admit they are afraid. I mean, I am glad you were able to decrease your fear of snakes but it is still good to be wary of the ones that are dangerous. They are not the types that like being petted, you know.

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I suspect fear of the dark is not present in children before age 2ish, because it is at that point in development that we notice when our adults aren't around. I have at least one memory of being in a crib in the bedroom of my parents, awake in the dark, but not frightened, because I knew they were in the room.

It was when I moved into my own bedroom that I became aware that in the dark my people were not there. It is the same kind of fear as being separated from your parents in a store.

It is primal and probably hard-wired in the sense that it occurs only when you notice yourself as separate from your significant people.

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Fear is an evolution trait. When we're still animals, fear help us to stay away from the dark, where prowling the predators. So fear, which help us to survive, is good and is passed on the next generation through gene. When we see the dark, our natural instinct is triggered. The darkness has a close correlation with the Unknown (a fear that still roaming in our blood today)

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(Posted in the wrong section I know. Wasn't sure where to put this) Anyway,

Are we born afraid of the dark like we supposedly are of spiders and snakes? I'm just curious if we are or if it's just something that comes from watching too many scary movies or something.

I dunno, here's what I think.

When I was 11 years old, I was kayaking with my class in a resort Called Delphi. We were kayaking in an inlet on the Irish sea. My classmate that was beside me was very very skinny and light, a guest of wind blew him under and then he grabbed me pulling me under too. After that, he got to the surface before I did and got up on top of the two kayaks, I was trapped underneath and my feet were sorta tangled in seaweed. I thought I was gonig to die as I started to swallow water, when suddenly a big hand came down and grabbed me taking me to the surface. The instructor saved my life.

What Im trying to say is, before that I was cautious around water, not that I was afraid. After that however I will admit that I was afraid of the Depp black waters that are quite common in Ireland. After that little incident we went back to the pier where we got the boats, everyone was jumping off the high pier into the deep water. Although I was afraid I did it anyway just to prove to myself that I was willing to face my fears. To this day im still overly cautious around dark waters.

Now Im a good swimmer and from what I was told as a teenager im a rather skilled kayak-er now. haha

My advice if your afraid of something, be smart about it and face your fears, 'appropriately'.

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Fear is an evolution trait. When we're still animals, fear help us to stay away from the dark, where prowling the predators. So fear, which help us to survive, is good and is passed on the next generation through gene. When we see the dark, our natural instinct is triggered. The darkness has a close correlation with the Unknown (a fear that still roaming in our blood today)

I have to agree, my basic instincts have gotten me very far in my life. Often, when I could be going out at nights with friends, id get a strange gut feeling that this person was bad, you know a new guy that came down. By the end of the night I as right, that same guy started a fight with me.

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