[00:00:08] Speaker A: Hello, everyone, and thank you for tuning in. You're listening to sound barrier, Northeast state's official podcast, where we'll be breaking the barrier by getting to know some of our faculty, staff and students. And today we've got a very special guest close to home to me, Miss Lisa Poole, associate professor of psych. ##ology and most of you may know her by the psychology goddess. Is that self proclaimed or was that given to you?
[00:00:32] Speaker B: That is not self proclaimed. It was given to me. I just perpetuate it every semester so students will remember.
[00:00:40] Speaker A: Very good. So we're excited to have her on. Yes, she is. In fact, my mother, she's been teaching here for over 20 years full time, and she's held a number of different roles at the college. She has a master's degree in counseling, spent some time as a school counselor, worked here in the trio office counseling department, you name it. Mom has probably had her hands on it. So she is well versed, especially in the field of psychology. And today we're going to be talking about the psychology of fear. I do want to make a quick disclaimer before we get going, though, that what we talk about today is not to be taken as a clinical description. It is for entertainment purposes only. Inherently, we are not experts in this field. We just happen to know a little bit more about behavior and the mind than the average individual.
So, mom, to start you off lightly, why did you ultimately decide to get a degree in counseling in the first place?
[00:01:41] Speaker B: Well, at Carson Newman undergrad, I was an English and communication arts major, and I was going to become the next Barbara Walters. Not everybody knows who Barbara Walters is, but that's what I wanted to do. But then I found out that maybe I could not support myself as well as I wanted to. So the family fallback is education and psychology and come from a long line of educators. And so EtSU was here, I moved here. Counseling looked interesting, and we decided to go down that path.
[00:02:17] Speaker A: Sounds good. What ultimately got you into teaching, though? I know you got your counseling degree, but you did teach for a little while.
[00:02:25] Speaker B: I did teach high school English for a little while, and I had gotten, and I liked that. I liked teaching, being with the students. And so when I graduated from EtsU, I got a counseling position at an elementary school and was fortunate enough to be able to teach small classes and found out that I really liked it. Had the opportunity to come here and teach adjunct in the early 90s, took that, and I decided this is what I wanted to do.
[00:02:55] Speaker C: So I kind of just want to step right into the fear factor here, the psychology of fear. And I guess fear can, when we're children. Is fear an innate, I guess, feature of the human mind? Is it natural for us to experience fear? Are there social factors to it? Is it learned, perhaps?
[00:03:16] Speaker B: Well, it's interesting. Normally, fear can express itself from ages two to five, but we see fear earlier than that in children, particularly with separation anxiety, which occurs the first year of life. So I think that you could say that maybe it is just dependent upon nature versus nurture. If a child is born, maybe with the tendency to be fearful, the environment can either push them towards that or pull them back from that.
[00:03:52] Speaker A: And we see with examples in the history of psychology, with the little Albert experiment. So certain things we have an innate fear, too, such as loud noises. And within that experiment, you see John B. Watson. What he did was he trained little Albert to be fearful of a bunch of different things. Initially, it was supposed to be a few different things, like a dog, a rabbit, you name it. But ultimately, what happened is little Albert generalized, and he became fearful of a lot of different things that related to the initial conditioning time frame. And so it showed that not only do we have fears, such as being fearful of loud noises from a very early age, but also that we can condition those to other items. So, like you said, it's both a nature and a nurture aspect.
[00:04:46] Speaker B: And I think we can look at it culturally, too, because in our culture, children have a little less to fear globally. But when we're looking now at Israel and we've seen the Ukraine, those children grow up in quite a different environment, and their fears are different and maybe much more profound.
[00:05:10] Speaker D: How does fear kind of manifest itself, or does it all in our bodies, like, physiologically? Because I've read things about how there are a lot of cells in your stomach when they refer to a gut feeling. I had a gut feeling about something.
How does fear anxiety manifest in our bodies physically?
Is there a link between the two? And how does that happen at all?
[00:05:35] Speaker B: Oh, there's a definite, powerful mind body connection, and I think we in psychology knew that way before the medical professionals did. Fear is stored a lot in our gut, and if you read books concerning fear, it tells you to listen to your gut feeling. Now, some interesting physiological research about fear that's going on now is looking at the amygdala, which is considered the fear center in the brain. And they're looking at people who have OCD, maybe not being able to turn off that fear center in the amygdala, in the know, Tom, you and I, we leave our homes in the morning. We know we've turned that iron off or that stove off or whatever. But for people with OCD, they are continually fearful. I've got to go back and turn that off or they hit a bump in the road and they think that they've hit somebody. So they're looking at not being able to turn that fear factor off and maybe being able to help people with OCD and phobias and fears, being able.
[00:06:54] Speaker A: To overcome that and going off on that. Regarding the amygdala, some individuals may have an underactive amygdala as well. So would you think that maybe that's why some individuals are more so sensation seekers, where they seek out behaviors or activities that for an individual who, quote unquote, has a normal activity within their amygdala, they think that whatever this person doing, I would never engage in that activity. But for some people, they need that stimulation to achieve the same result that we do in normal activities, such as going on a hike, et cetera.
[00:07:36] Speaker B: Yeah. With your personality type, there are people who seek fearful activities, high adrenaline activities, not only in their personal life, but even they'll look for jobs that have that high arousal factor that they can incorporate into their everyday life.
[00:07:59] Speaker C: It's really interesting.
I have OCD. I was clinically diagnosed when I was eleven, so I tap outlets four times. If I don't, my house will catch on fire and my cats will die. I can't explain it, but ironically enough, I have the OCD, but I still seek out adrenaline. I guess things that would cause adrenaline rushes, like skydiving, and I guess what many consider high risk activities. So it's just interesting. When you were, the question you asked maybe people with the amygdala, maybe not a malfunctioning amygdala, but maybe one that's on the opposite end of the spectrum. Like, with someone with OCD, theirs perhaps might be overactive and then people might not be as, I guess, reactive compared to someone with OCD. It's just kind of funny, that spectrum, when I experience these fears, these really illogical fears, OCD related fears, yet still seek out those adrenaline rushes. It's kind of a really big contradiction that not even, I can't explain it or begin to understand it.
[00:09:09] Speaker B: Do you think in some way your body, not that you're addicted to that, but you are seeking that because that's what you've known throughout your entire life? I really don't know. There's so many things about the brain that we don't understand. And that's why psychology is so interesting to me.
[00:09:29] Speaker C: It is. I don't know if it's because it's more of maybe a more logical fear, perhaps. Maybe.
I know the thing about OCD is, you know, the fears are illogical, but they still affect you. So that's kind of like the trap. You're trapped in your brain almost. It's like you know what's logical and what's not. Whereas skydiving. It seems like everyone would be afraid of that. It's a normal fear. Like you're plummeting toward the earth at 120 miles an hour. I would like to think anyone would be afraid of doing that, but tell.
[00:10:02] Speaker B: Them what you just did.
[00:10:08] Speaker C: But it's just interesting. And it's almost like you're trying to kind of take a control of it. Almost.
It's about that control. So you can't control the fears with OCD, but you can control putting yourself in those situations, like skydiving, base jumping, deep sea diving ones, that would generally generate fear. Amongst the normal, normal population, we do.
[00:10:34] Speaker B: Seek to be in control.
So I would say that's a very powerful factor.
[00:10:39] Speaker A: Yeah, there's a couple of things that come to mind. Have you seen mom, the documentary called free solo?
[00:10:47] Speaker B: I have not.
[00:10:48] Speaker A: So there's an individual who, he climbs the sides of rock formations, and he climbed the Yosemite without any sort of protective equipment. So he climbs these rock structures completely without any safety. And the thing is, they scanned his brain, and his amygdala was significantly underactive. He knows what he's doing, obviously, but it takes more stimulation for him to achieve the same result exactly as far as the activity within that area of his brain. So I found that fascinating. And I'm not going to make a clinical. Again, this is not clinical, this is my perspective. But from a lot of literature that I've seen, an underactive amygdala may be associated with antisocial personality disorder as well. And I'm not saying that this individual has ASPD, but one of the things that's associated with that disorder is an underactive amygdala.
[00:11:48] Speaker B: Yeah. And every person is different. Her experience is not going to be your experience.
[00:11:53] Speaker A: Exactly.
[00:11:54] Speaker B: So I think that's important to note.
[00:11:57] Speaker D: What do you think fear is a healthy thing? I mean, it may be good to be afraid of things that are dangerous, but what aspects of life is fear? Kind of a good, healthy thing, not only for being cautious, but for pushing out of comfort zones. We hear about breaking out of the comfort zone.
Why is that a good thing, to be kind of afraid and take that risk anyway?
[00:12:21] Speaker B: Well, when we were talking before the podcast, and Matthew has had jobs where it's really taken him out of his comfort zone, and he has grown from that, and I think that's one of the most amazing things that fear can do for us, is it does get us out of our comfort zone and into trying new things.
How long did it take you to decide, hey, I'm going to go skydive?
[00:12:52] Speaker C: Eleven years, I put it on my bucket list, I think, when I was 16 in high school. So it took over a decade for me to finally take, to finally push back past that fear, and it brought the most surreal, euphoric experience of my life.
Ironically, I just had to push past, through a bunch of anxiety, a bunch of fear, and you didn't give up.
[00:13:16] Speaker B: And you did it.
[00:13:17] Speaker C: We did it. Well, once you're out of the plane, I guess I didn't have an option to give up at that point.
So I guess once my brain got past that, well, it is what it is now, you don't have any other choice. Why be afraid at this point? And I guess it was also a cocktail of chemicals, adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine.
Again, another physiological component in your body a lot of people think of, myself included, fear isn't really a tangible thing, it's something you can't see, you can't experience someone else's fear. But it's just really interesting, you all bringing up the studies with brain, I guess, brain compositions, amygdalas, overactive, underactive. And it's easy to see that there must be physical components to this. It's just not physical components. We can.
[00:14:08] Speaker B: Exactly, exactly. And going back to Tom's question too, I talk to my students all the time about test anxiety, and I tell them that it's okay to be a little anxious, not exactly fearful, because a little anxiety might help you do a little bit better, but when it comes to be debilitating, that's not where you want to be.
[00:14:35] Speaker D: When is fear? Say, if you're a student about to take a midterm or a final exam and you're a little bit nervous, is that a good thing? Or maybe is it a bad thing or is it kind of a good thing? Is it good to have a level of fear that you have to face to break out of your comfort zone?
[00:14:52] Speaker B: I think it's good to have, but again, you don't want it to become overwhelming and debilitating. To the point I have had students who have actually had to leave class during a test because they became ill, and that was due to their anxiety and their fear. So a little bit is okay, but you cannot let it overwhelm you.
[00:15:15] Speaker A: Yeah, we like to think of it like a bell curve, where the you stress, it has a certain point where it can actually propel you to be more focused and more aware in the moment. But whenever you start to go on, the other end of that bell curve is where you begin to experience distress, which is bad stress. And that can actually inhibit your ability to perform. You can kind of think about it like athletes in a game where maybe at the beginning or toward the middle of the game, it's not as intense. Maybe. So they may play a little bit loose. But let's say that we get toward the end of a game, and there's a moment of whether or not this play or drive is going to decide the game entirely. People may get so overly anxious that they quote unquote, in the sports world, they call it choke. And it's because they're feeling so anxious or so distressed in the moment that their performance is actually inhibited as a result.
[00:16:12] Speaker B: And an interesting thing about social psychology is that the presence of a group can help you perform or it can hurt your performance. And that all has to do with fear and anxiety.
[00:16:24] Speaker A: Absolutely.
[00:16:25] Speaker D: In what areas?
Talking a little bit more about fear and the good and the bad of it. When does fear become unhealthy? And when it starts manifesting into psychological problems like anxiety, depression. You talked about phobias, and we're going to get in. I'm going to ask you something else about the, as I call it, the fear industry in a little bit. But when fears start manifesting themselves in those ways, is that learned or is that necessarily genetic? Because you'll hear something like, well, your father, your mother, your grandfather was afraid of this and this, and you're just like them.
So are fears always learned, or are they somewhat programmed into our dna to be a little bit more afraid of certain things than others?
[00:17:21] Speaker B: Something that I find very interesting is what they call generational trauma.
[00:17:27] Speaker D: Okay.
[00:17:28] Speaker B: Basically saying that fear and anxiety can be passed down from generation to generation.
For example, if you had an ancestor who was in a concentration camp, of course, you did not share that experience, but maybe somewhere in the brain chemistry that has triggered in you an anxiety or a fear, and you really don't know where that has come from. But according to this theory, that came from your ancestor who was in that concentration camp, that kind of fear I think we would term as being more innate, as opposed to, of course, learned.
John Locke said, we're a blank slate. Everything.
You're born a blank personality, and your environment writes on you, who you are going to be. Now, if you are born into an environment where there is a lot of fear, a lot of know, Erickson says that during that first year of life, we don't remember the exact event, but we can perhaps remember the trauma and the emotional feeling generated from that event. So I think the question of fear being innate or learned, it's both.
Any study that you read could have it be one or the other, or maybe a combination of the two makes sense.
[00:19:17] Speaker A: Like some fears are reflexive, we are born with them, but through our environment. And here's the thing about the mind, is we may not be aware of every single mental faculty that's influencing so true how we feel or what we do from moment to moment.
So, like you said, although we can't consciously remember some of the trauma that happened before the age of one or two years old that's still stored somewhere and can influence us as we age.
[00:19:51] Speaker B: That is very true. And Tom, you mentioned a fear industry.
[00:19:56] Speaker D: Yes.
[00:19:57] Speaker B: Oh, my gosh. There is a definite fear industry.
[00:20:03] Speaker D: And like any industry, it's, of course, predicated on making vast sums of money from its customers, victims.
There's kind of a couple of questions I have about this.
If you follow news, and I don't want to say news necessarily, but media, or certainly certain product lines even, and companies around the world like to keep people afraid. If you don't have this, it's like there's something called fomo, the fear of missing out, which, oh, if I don't have this, I'm not a complete human being.
[00:20:39] Speaker B: Exactly.
[00:20:40] Speaker D: And either it's my cholesterol, or somebody's going to break in, or there's brown, reckless spiders in the yard or whatever, this myriad amount of fears that are constantly being pushed on us. And the end result of that is you need to buy this product to feel safe and to feel safe and comforted.
Why does that work on people? Why does that work in the psychology of people that, oh, I need this.
[00:21:08] Speaker B: Or I'm going to be, well, the media knows that fear has eyeballs.
You put something out there concerning a fear or what you should have or shouldn't have, and that's going to get some attention. That's going to get some eyeballs.
And we were talking before the podcast about haunted houses and things. People want to be scared, but I think they want to be scared in a controlled environment to where they know they're going to come out of this okay. But in between, they're going to get some adrenaline, they're going to get some stimulation from that.
[00:21:54] Speaker A: It hits that bone that they need, but it's not so distressing to where it's like, oh, my gosh, my life.
[00:22:01] Speaker B: Is in danger, you know, your life is not in danger. So it's a controlled type of fear. Exactly.
[00:22:07] Speaker A: Yes, I think that is absolutely correct. I couldn't agree more. And something that Tom had mentioned and we've talked about before, but the brain is really adaptive. Right. So, like spicy food, the more we eat, the more our body gets used to it. Right. And so when it comes to fear, and this is a whole area within clinical psychology, we may consider it exposure therapy. One of the best things to get through an anxious either item or moment is to expose yourself to it. Maybe not all at once, but slowly.
[00:22:48] Speaker B: And surely through systematic desensitization.
I had a student one time who had a fear of bridges, a phobia of bridges. And to get here from 36, you've got to go across a bridge. So she would drive miles out of her way. So if you were going to use exposure therapy with her systematic desensitization, you would just take baby steps. She would drive to the road where the bridge was the next day. She would drive a little further the next day. She might drive up to the bridge and stop.
Or if a child has school phobia, afraid to go to school, the same thing, systematic desensitization. They make it to the sidewalk the first day, to the door the second day, in the door the third day. So exposure systematically does help with fear.
[00:23:45] Speaker A: I can agree with that. One of my biggest fears, and I don't know that I really told you this, but it was public speaking, and I think that's most people's. One of their top fears.
[00:23:54] Speaker B: It's the top fear. It's above death.
[00:23:57] Speaker A: Yeah, I believe it.
[00:23:58] Speaker D: Holy cow.
[00:23:59] Speaker B: Death is second and public speaking is first. I believe now, again, that could have changed.
[00:24:06] Speaker A: Yeah. And that's what I will occasionally tell students, is I don't know how I became a teacher because I was so deathly petrified of talking in front of people, but because I had little moments of experience in college, had to do presentations, had to go through communications classes, got involved in clubs where I was effectively volunteered to speak in front of people. Although I wasn't good at it, although I sounded very nervous, I was still systematically desensitizing myself to public speaking to where now sometimes I'll be in the middle of a lecture and I'll be like, I can't believe I'm doing this right now, because younger me would have never been able to do so.
[00:24:48] Speaker B: And does that make you feel good?
[00:24:49] Speaker A: It does.
[00:24:51] Speaker B: It makes you feel like you've accomplished something. Exactly.
[00:24:53] Speaker A: And that's one of the positive things. Like we've talked about control and especially with phobias and everything like that, we engage in safety behaviors as a result, to momentarily alleviate the anxiety we're experiencing. But in the long term, it's not productive. Just because something is effective in the short term does not make it productive long term. And I think that just as we've discussed, to kind of tie a bow on it is just that as we take control and as we know that most things in life are not going to lead to an actual threat to our health or well being whenever we come out on the other side, although it's not pleasant in the moment, there's a feeling of accomplishment on the other side, where eventually it will become a more manageable anxiety. It may not go away completely, but you at least know how to manage it.
[00:25:42] Speaker D: Talking about managing fear and a controlled environment or of fear. Halloween, certainly a very fun holiday for some kind of a spooky good time, as we kind of think of it. And also, of course, the day of the dead, as others also celebrate.
How does that holiday kind of serve psychologically but also culturally for people to deal with death? Because we mentioned death, of course, public speaking, number one, death kind of one of the major sources of fear out there because.
[00:26:21] Speaker B: It'S unknown.
[00:26:22] Speaker D: Yeah, it's unknown and no one's getting out of it. But what kind of purpose does Halloween and the day of the dead serve culturally and for a society to at least remember those have passed on and kind of have a little bit of fun and a little bit of, I guess, taking some of the stress out of that lingering fear. How does it work?
[00:26:47] Speaker B: Well, I know the day of the dead. My hispanic friends tell me that it's not scary. It's not supposed to be a scary holiday. It's supposed to be one of honor. They are honoring the people who have passed, and they will actually go to the cemeteries, and they will have food, they will have picnics in the cemeteries, and they are there to honor their ancestors. So for them, I don't get the feeling that it's really scary. But I think that maybe it helps people face death in that culture because they know that it's really not something to be feared, but honored, maybe. Right now, Halloween, I think, is more of a time. You get to dress up and you get to be another character. You get to be another personality, and that can always be fun. You get a chance. If you want to be a little mean. Well, let's don't say mean.
[00:27:53] Speaker A: Spooky.
[00:27:54] Speaker B: A little spooky.
In my day, although I never did this, we would go out in toilet paper, people's yards, and the fear there was, you could very easily get caught, which some of my friends did.
Again, I don't think I was ever a part of that.
[00:28:14] Speaker A: Of course not.
[00:28:17] Speaker B: So I think Halloween gives us a chance to step out of our comfort zone in that way a little bit. Plus watching scary movies and getting to be scared a little bit, but yet knowing that it's safe. It's just Halloween.
[00:28:30] Speaker C: So what kind of effect does I guess culture have? Culture, spirituality, even religion, maybe. What kind of effect could that have on fear?
[00:28:41] Speaker B: Oh, that's a big question.
[00:28:43] Speaker C: Sorry, I just kind of popped in my brain.
[00:28:45] Speaker B: But that's a good question. That's a good question. Because culturally, I think we've already spoken a little bit with the day of the dead and how that's more of a cultural phenomenon than it is a fear phenomenon.
[00:29:01] Speaker A: Do you think it's more commercialized here?
[00:29:03] Speaker B: Definitely. It's a way to make money. It's, again, our fear industry.
[00:29:09] Speaker D: Is that the fear industry?
[00:29:11] Speaker B: Fear industry. Because, well, the thing is, you're going to buy candy to give out because you don't want people to do tricks to your house, and you're going to buy costumes, and you're going to go see scary movies, and you're going to go to haunted houses, and you're going to do all these different things that you don't normally do on August 16, right. It's October 31. Let's be a little bit mean.
[00:29:39] Speaker A: Yeah. Like a suspension of reality.
[00:29:41] Speaker B: Yes, I think so. That's a better not mean suspension of reality.
I'm so glad that I birthed you.
We may cut that, but I just had to say it.
[00:29:58] Speaker A: Okay. So as far as we've kind of talked about it, but in what areas do you think in our life is fear more so a healthy thing? We talked about the gut feeling, your intuition. What's just your opinion on how much we should trust our gut in a moment or our intuition?
[00:30:23] Speaker B: Oh, I'm a firm believer in trusting your gut and your intuition. And I think probably if we went around this circle, we would all have experiences where our gut kicked in and we made a decision based off that intuition or gut instinct. And you hear stories of people who have avoided horrible things, even death, by following their gut instinct or their intuition. So I'm a huge believer in that. But yet again, I do feel that some of us have a higher level of intuition than others, and some of us are more apt to recognize dangerous situations than others. That's also age related, because when you're a child and definitely an adolescent, you're still thinking with that more primitive area of your brain and making decisions with that area. So you may not make the best decisions even if you do listen to your gut instinct.
[00:31:31] Speaker A: Makes sense? Absolutely. I definitely think that people have a varying level of, of course, intuition, situational awareness, emotional awareness in general. So although things like that scale, maybe you could put it on a scientific chart or trying to apply the scientific method to. But some of these things, I don't feel like if you try to explain it to a scientific community, it's going to be scoffed at. Of course.
[00:32:02] Speaker B: Of course.
[00:32:02] Speaker A: But if you're in tune, I think there's a thing, and this is, again, just my opinion, to having situational awareness, emotional awareness, things like that. I think that that's definitely something that I tend to trust. You get a feeling in certain situations you do, and oftentimes it's not a bad idea to follow that. But again, if you tell a scientist that, it's going to be scoffed.
[00:32:29] Speaker B: Well, of course. But I just think you're being aware of your surroundings, especially in the world today.
You hear about so many things happening. Even in my little town of Gray, there have been some things that have happened. So you've got.
[00:32:43] Speaker A: Yeah, if something's telling you to maybe flee the situation.
[00:32:49] Speaker B: Or you see a situation where you could help, but that gets into bystander intervention and all that kind of stuff, too, because you all know that as the number of bystanders increases in a situation, the likelihood of help will decrease.
[00:33:05] Speaker D: The kitty Genovese effect.
[00:33:07] Speaker B: Kitty genovese effect, most definitely.
[00:33:11] Speaker D: We have, like, controlled fear. Controlled fear is good. Controlled fear is a good thing.
But 2000, 3000 years ago, our ancestors dealt with real fear because they had to deal with disease, famine.
How are we going to make fire and eat? Is a bear going to come and eat me now? It's like I'm afraid somebody's going to make a mean comment on my Instagram photo.
[00:33:33] Speaker B: Oh, that is so true.
[00:33:35] Speaker D: So that generational thing is, well, even just. It's a way of life back then I don't think any of us can really conceive of and the thought processes. But has this constant messaging of fear. Be afraid of this, be afraid of that? Oh, you need this not to be afraid.
Has that diluted a lot of people's thinking, to not be so much aware of real fears, like viruses, wars, expansions of wars, where large numbers of people can be killed and horrors can be inflicted on people?
Has the fear messaging diluted our sensitivity to genuine fear and genuine danger?
[00:34:20] Speaker B: I think so, because when I look back on my own life, my fears very rarely have been life threatening fears.
They've been to me sometimes very silly things, kind of like social media. Is anybody going to like what I put up on social media?
Will I run into traffic on my way to work?
Those kinds of things?
And I think to a certain extent, not only does that point to the shallowness of our world right now, and I don't know if I'm putting this the correct way or not, but we have been conditioned maybe to fear things that we should not fear, and we've gotten away from the things that really, you were talking about viruses and different.
[00:35:29] Speaker A: Things that can actually cause harm to.
[00:35:33] Speaker B: Your health or well being. Exactly.
So it's not going to cause me harm if nobody likes what I put on social media, but the COVID virus could, could kill me, what might I have worried about more on one day than the other? So, yeah, I think it's a condition.
[00:35:54] Speaker A: To think it makes sense, because whenever you're looking at the situation, if you're feeling anxiety or fear, that's your nervous system telling you that there's a perceived threat. Right. And although our fears now are different than what they were back in the day, so people get anxious or fearful public speaking. So let's take a step back. Why are we getting fearful of public speaking? Well, back in the day, and we still are, of course, we still like to adhere to a tribe. We like our group, we can be clicky. Right. And so back in the day, if you weren't a part of a tribe, if there was more of others than of you, you were at significant risk of not being on this earth anymore. Right. So when you're in front of a group of people, you're being judged potentially you've got a lot of eyes on you. Whenever you're in a nature setting multiple hundred years ago, if you had a lot of eyes on you in nature, that means that, oh, no, I'm in trouble here. So there's still that primal instinct within us. It's just we haven't found a way in which to modernize it. Like, we don't have the distinction right now to where public speaking, it's not an actual threat to my health and well being. It's a challenge. But still, because there's that primal instinct in us, we're still associating that with what could have happened way back in the day when there's a very wealthy people on the other end and there's one of you.
[00:37:24] Speaker B: You don't run from that dinosaur.
[00:37:26] Speaker A: There's safety in numbers, we always like to say. And whenever it's just you, it can be very scary when you're the outsider.
[00:37:33] Speaker B: Very true. Very true.
[00:37:35] Speaker C: How might social anxiety come into play there? Because what you just said, I have never framed it that way. I've never thought of that, and it makes just a boku amount of sense.
How does social anxiety maybe come into play like that? Maybe, like, for people who may fear just those one on one interactions, even not necessarily a room.
[00:37:55] Speaker D: Yeah.
[00:37:56] Speaker A: And I think it kind of reverts back to the same thing of being judged harshly. And if I don't have a group of people that I adhere to, then what is my like, I'm not going to survive. So when we're in these social situations, there's that primal area in the back of our head that says, if I don't make a connection or if I'm not the life of a party or merging well with others, there's something maybe inherently wrong with me as well as, hey, this is something that's primal to me. I want to be a part of a group setting and be with and make connections. So whenever there's that incongruence there, I definitely feel like it can cause you to be anxious. And again, it reverts back to being judged negatively or harshly. We don't like to be viewed in that manner, at least most people, because there's an individual who's not come to mind right off the bat, but they name a few tenets that we all strive for. Connection, a group as well as.
The particular words aren't coming to me.
We've talked about so many different things. That's kind of made me hiccup on it. But we've strived to have, at least at our baseline, connection with others and to feel accomplished. And so I think that all relates to it. But I think that when it comes to social anxiety, and you can agree or disagree or come in with your own opinion, when it comes to social anxiety, potentially there was a time in your early childhood or adolescence, growing up to where you were excluded from something or you were judged harshly in front of a group of people. And so, as a result of that conditioning, that's why you now feel in your adulthood, even though you can't consciously remember it or recognize it or make that connection, you'll still feel anxiety when in a group of others. So it can be a number of different things when it comes to mental difficulties. Like, you know, mom, it's not.
[00:39:55] Speaker B: Everybody's different.
[00:39:56] Speaker A: Everybody's different.
[00:39:58] Speaker B: I don't know what other phrase to use, but I wanted to share this with you all. Every year, Chapman University does a survey of american fears. Okay. Agriculture. And these were the top ten fears of 2022.
Number one, was corrupt government officials. 62% were very afraid or afraid.
Number two, people I love becoming seriously ill, 60%.
Russia using nuclear weapons, 59.6. Now, that was a fear I had when I was growing up, because I grew up during the cold War, and we had drills and we got under our desk, you know, how that was going to protect us from the nuclear war. But anyway, so that was a surprise to me, that that was still.
Number four, people I love dying, 58%. Number five, the US becoming involved in another world war. That was 56%.
Number six, pollution of drinking water, 54.5%. Seven, not having enough money for the future, 53%.
Number eight, economic financial collapse. 53%.
Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes. 52. And then number ten, biological warfare, which was feared by 51.5%. So I thought that was interesting. And again, that is american fears.
[00:41:41] Speaker A: Just goes to show how across time, potentially, our fears, due to our environment, has changed.
[00:41:48] Speaker B: They've changed, exactly.
[00:41:50] Speaker D: Do you think that's a shrinking world, too? Because those are a lot of global, they're Americans fears, but they're global sensitivities.
[00:41:58] Speaker B: Yes, definitely no social media fear on there.
[00:42:04] Speaker D: Take that Zuckerberg.
Well, depending on the research you read and the economic statistics, the anxiety and depression treatment market from between 2024 and I think 2027 could hit anywhere from 16 billion to $20 billion in medications globally.
North America leading the way there, of course, not surprisingly, Europe being second.
How successful has medication been in treating these anxieties? Since we've got this host of antianxiety, antidepressive, antipsychotic medications, just an entire pharmacy packed shelves to treat this, and yet it seems it's never been higher. There's never been more uncertainty and more anxiety. So how much is the medication, the big pharma's market, doing to help people is it helping at all or do you see alternative ways for people to live in a world and manage anxiety beyond another pill?
[00:43:22] Speaker B: Again, and this is my opinion, I believe we are over medicated. And one reason I believe that is in our culture, we look for a quick fix. An appeal can be a quick fix, but if you're just taking appeal for a psychological issue, it's like just putting a band aid on. You're not getting at the root cause. If it's fear based, you're not getting at the root of what that fear is. I myself believe that before you go the medication route, you need to try cognitive behavioral therapy.
In that it's talk therapy. It's therapy using strategies, behavioral strategies to help you deal with your issues.
One thing that, and I tell my students this, one thing that scares me is I believe we have, the doctors may get mad, but I believe that we have medical professionals who should not be prescribing drugs for psychological disorders. I don't think that a general practitioner, I think that you need to go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist if you are going to go the route of medication. But always pair medication with behavioral techniques and try those behavioral techniques by themselves first.
[00:44:55] Speaker A: I think that's well said.
[00:44:57] Speaker D: Yeah, very.
[00:45:01] Speaker B: I'm not anti medication because I have seen medication work and work tremendously well. So I don't want people to think that I am anti medication, but I just think that we need to watch.
[00:45:16] Speaker A: I think that's definitely the perspective of a lot of mental health practitioners. Now, some disorders.
[00:45:24] Speaker B: Schizophrenia, schizophrenia, antipsychotics are.
[00:45:27] Speaker A: Necessary because no matter what sort of talk therapy is utilized, whatever approach is utilized, you're going to need that medication. And I agree with you in that for sure. ADHD, I have seen personally just it been over diagnosed and there has been over prescription given for ADHD and definitely was well said with if you are experiencing distressing anxiety, perhaps going and seeking a counselor first and trying to work through those difficulties on the initial end is a good idea. And then either in conjunction or then later on utilizing the psychotropics, as Tom mentioned, the antidepressants and in extreme cases anti anxiety agents.
[00:46:18] Speaker B: And I don't like the stigma out there about medication because there is a stigma. There is a stigma, but if you had strep throat, you would go to the doctor and get an antibiotic to get better.
[00:46:30] Speaker A: Exactly.
[00:46:31] Speaker B: If a medication in conjunction with counseling or by itself, like with psychotropics, if a medication can help you take it, take it.
[00:46:43] Speaker A: Yes.
[00:46:46] Speaker B: I'm not anti medication on that.
[00:46:48] Speaker A: Point me either, by any stretch of the imagination. And just again, as another disclaimer. We are not medical professionals. Do not take what we say as advice. Please seek direction from your medical professional. So I kind of want to ask you too, mom. What are some scary things? And this goes for all the co hosts too. What were some scary things to us whenever we were kids? Or even as an adult, maybe what movie or.
[00:47:19] Speaker B: Well, when I was in elementary school, there was a popular show that was on right after school called dark shadows.
And it was a show about vampires, essentially. And I would run home from school and I would watch that. Well, eventually it got to the point where it was scaring me. And at night, I had really long hair. I would have to make sure that my hair was over my neck so Barnabas Collins couldn't come and bite me in the night.
So my mom finally figured out what I was doing and there was no more dark shadows for me.
[00:47:56] Speaker D: Wow, scary.
[00:48:01] Speaker A: Tom, is there anything that you can recollect that maybe was.
[00:48:04] Speaker D: Yeah.
Water. Any kind of deep water. Deep water. You can't say, like, I don't like the ocean. I've been to beaches maybe three, four times in my life. No, I'm interested in going to oceans or lakes. Because when I was a kid. Also the film jaws came out.
[00:48:21] Speaker B: Yes.
[00:48:22] Speaker D: You have the poster of the girl swimming with, like, the shark come up the water. And we went to the beach when I was, like, Disneyland when I was, like, six or seven. Right. And so we're out there, and there's the ocean. And you're like, oh, there's the ocean. Must be a bunch of sharks in there. But we go by, like, Seaworld was down there, I think, at the time. Or they had this big. Whatever it was. Had this huge billboard with this killer whale on, know, like, killer whale.
[00:48:47] Speaker B: Yes.
[00:48:47] Speaker D: Which, if you're a kid, you hear a killer whale. You don't need to hear any more.
[00:48:50] Speaker B: Than, well, you think that killer whale's gonna come kill me, is what you think.
[00:48:54] Speaker D: Well, here's what. Let me deconstruct. I don't makes. I don't know what this says about me. But anyway, make your own conclusions. Somehow, somebody said something while they were talking about SeaWorld and somebody. I overheard this sentence, oh, well, whales are actually mammals like us. They can breathe air. So I get it in my mind if we go to SeaWorld, the killer whale will follow us back to the hotel and eat me.
[00:49:19] Speaker A: I can see that.
[00:49:21] Speaker D: Be in the water because killer whales are.
If they're anything, they're known for other than know. Inconspicuous in public. It would be memorizing license plates of cars from Tennessee and following them back to.
No, this is what I thought.
This is what I was like.
[00:49:38] Speaker B: Yeah.
[00:49:39] Speaker D: It's going to knock on the door like a land shark from the old Saturday night live show. And just like, so I don't like water. I don't go near water.
[00:49:47] Speaker B: I can understand how you as a child would come to that conclusion.
[00:49:50] Speaker A: Absolutely.
[00:49:52] Speaker B: You're a very smart child.
[00:49:53] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:49:54] Speaker B: I don't know about know. I know.
[00:49:57] Speaker D: I don't know about that. That was.
Opinions vary about my.
[00:50:02] Speaker B: Yeah, so, yeah, but do you know, fun fact, my parents took me to universal when I was young and they had jaws, the mechanical shark that they used as jaws, and they had it hanging up and you could stand in its mouth.
[00:50:20] Speaker D: Holy cow.
There's a lot of shark movie every year. There's like another CGI.
[00:50:29] Speaker B: What's that? Sharkinado.
[00:50:32] Speaker A: Sharknado.
[00:50:33] Speaker B: Sharknado.
That is the craziest.
[00:50:36] Speaker A: So many different just od storylines with how you.
[00:50:42] Speaker B: Is that where sharks are flying through.
[00:50:43] Speaker A: The air or unless they're just swirling around in the water. That would be a hurricane.
[00:50:49] Speaker B: But sharknado. Shark.
[00:50:51] Speaker A: Sharknado sounds better than shark cane. So I don't know.
[00:50:55] Speaker D: The Meg. The meg, like the 200 foot shark.
Yeah. It's out there.
[00:51:02] Speaker B: Apparently.
[00:51:03] Speaker D: It should be lurking in the waters right now somewhere off Florida.
[00:51:07] Speaker A: Who knows? What do they say? How much percentage of the ocean has never been explored?
[00:51:12] Speaker D: It's a significant, like 97.
[00:51:15] Speaker A: It's a significant number.
[00:51:19] Speaker B: So who wants to take a trip to the beach, right?
Not Tom. No, thanks.
[00:51:27] Speaker A: Yeah, it's interesting to think about how your fear or. Yeah. Just what you fear will evolve over the course from childhood to adulthood. Like I said, mine was public speaking and adolescence and into early adulthood. But for me, early on, I think it was just in general, just ghosts. Right. Like the unknown. And I think that's another thing that could have been mentioned that we could have mentioned in this podcast is like, the unknown is very enticing. We want to know whenever we can't access something, we want to know more about it. Right. And so whenever you hear people talk about their experience with quote unquote ghosts, they will talk about either seeing something very briefly or something moves. And so just the unknown of what was that? Or where did that come from? Who is that?
It's fearful, but it's also enticing. The mystery, I think, really grasps people. So for me. And I'll now talk about the experience and how it integrates into it. I think my intrigue, but also fear of ghosts. There was one time when I was younger. Again, this is my experience.
There could be a number of things that happen in this moment. But I was a young child. I was sick one night. And this could maybe I was experiencing a night terror where I awoke during a dream. But I remember waking up at night, and it was almost like this cloaked figure was entering into the room very slowly. It was very tall, very slim. Maybe the hat man, I don't know. And so it stopped at the very end of the bed. I was so petrified in fear that all I knew to do we talk about the fight or flight response. In this case, it was the freeze response. I was so petrified in fear, I did not move at all. And the next thing I know, I'm just looking at it, and almost immediately, it sinks right into the floor. Odd experience round Halloween. Thought I would include that in there. So I think that's where my intrigue with ghosts really started. Like, what was that again? It could have been a number of things. I was sick. Maybe the nighttime Tylenol was kicking a little too hard and I was seeing the hat man. Or maybe a night terror or maybe an encounter with the paranormal. I'll let you be the judge of it.
[00:53:46] Speaker B: Oh, gosh.
[00:53:47] Speaker C: I think one of mine was.
I love the Halloween movies. Love watching those with my dad growing up. So Michael Myers. And you know how people run from him, of course, because he's trying to slash them up. I'd run, too. So I would have these nightmares, and it would become like lucid dreaming where I realized I'm dreaming. But I would always try to dial 911 on a phone. And these night hairs kind of evolved as technology evolved. So when I was a kid, I remember I'd have a corded phone, and I would be trying to call 911, and I'd get the numbers mixed up. I'd dial 119919.
I could never dial just 911. And then I would wake up, and as a teenager, it'd be like me on my iPhone. My iPhone would randomly lock up. Or I'd start, like, my hands were too sweaty. And then the screen wouldn't detect that my thumb was trying to dial 911. It was so od. So that was one of my, I guess just a consistent dream. I wouldn't call it a dream nightmare that I've had. I think it was kind of creepy.
[00:54:56] Speaker D: Interesting. Very.
[00:54:58] Speaker A: That's unsettling.
[00:54:59] Speaker D: That is.
[00:55:04] Speaker B: My Barnabas Collins. One was a little weak. I kept her hearing yours.
[00:55:08] Speaker D: Barnabas Collins was scary.
[00:55:10] Speaker B: You remember Barnabas Collins?
[00:55:12] Speaker D: A little bit. A tiny little bit. Then they did the movie with Johnny Depp.
[00:55:16] Speaker B: I think so.
I didn't see it, though.
[00:55:20] Speaker D: But, yeah, they did dark shadows.
[00:55:23] Speaker A: Well, let's finish on maybe a movie recommendation. If you're still in the Halloween spirit and you want a scary movie, maybe get that controlled fear bone tickled a little bit. Do you have a particular recommendation that you'd give?
[00:55:35] Speaker B: See, I like scary movies that are more psychological than just gore and things. And when you were saying that, the first thing that popped into my head, I think it's called the others with Nicole Kidman.
It was based on.
I think it was based on a story or something. I can't remember. But that movie is so psychologically spooky. It's one of the few scary movies that I've watched more than once. So I would recommend the others if you like. Just a psychological kind of scare. But it's got ghosts and it's got that in it.
[00:56:12] Speaker A: It hits all angles.
[00:56:13] Speaker B: Yes, it does.
[00:56:13] Speaker A: Good. I don't think I've seen that movie, so I'm going to watch it now.
[00:56:17] Speaker B: Now I hope that's the name of know. I like movies where you can't guess what happened.
[00:56:25] Speaker A: Yes, there's been a lot of movies. There's so many movies that are so predictable. And the best ones have that.
[00:56:31] Speaker B: And this one blew me away.
[00:56:34] Speaker A: Wow. Well, I know what I'm doing after work today.
Well, Lisa, mom, psychology goddess, thank you for joining the podcast today. We appreciate your time.
[00:56:44] Speaker B: Thank you, my sweet son. It's been fun.
[00:56:46] Speaker A: Good. Yeah. I have to agree. But anytime we talk about psychology, this is a normal conversation for you.
[00:56:51] Speaker B: Well, that is true. We do talk about psychology a lot. People think, oh, my goodness. I know. It's like sitting at your house.
[00:56:57] Speaker A: Right? But it's enjoyable. So the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
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