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Simply Scientific: Spooky Season

by Jad Abukasm October 29, 2019
Simply Scientific: Spooky Season

You probably costumed up this weekend for the yearly Halloween party where cats don’t look like cats and police officers lack clothing. The holiday of death and fear became a gathering event for university students to celebrate, for the most part, the end of midterms.

But say your professor turns into a werewolf, how would your body react? To tackle that question of paramount importance, let’s dig into what fear is.

Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that causes physiological response in your body.

Your professor is finalizing their transformation into a student-eating monster. This stressful situation would send a signal to your brain that will start processing the information. When this happens, all parts of the brain simultaneously work to establish whether your flesh-eating professor is a threat or nothing of importance.

There are two paths that the brain follows in evaluating the situation – the low road and the high road. The former evaluates every situation as the worst-case scenario; a loud sound from your kitchen at night is your end in this world. The latter, however, is your rational analysis of a situation. The high road will evaluate every possible outcome of a situation and link the stimulus to previous similar events in order to make sense of it.

This analysis of the situation happens in a blink of an eye and results in the biological reaction of fight or flight. Your reaction to your werewolf professor pouncing on their first victim will be either to fight them back or just get the eff out.

In both cases, your body will release chemicals like adrenaline and noradrenaline resulting in a racing heart, heavy breathing and activated muscles to be ready to either fight or flee the aggressor.

Now, don’t worry too much. Halloween is only two days away. So, cross your fingers and light up some sage in hope to avoid any encounter with life threatening monsters in the next 48 hours.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

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