Source AP ©

Halloween holiday contributes to study of how fast adults react to fear

Psychology professor David Zald wants to find out how fast adults react to fear.

At his home during the U.S. Halloween holiday, he watches kids adjust to it.

Zald, a professor at Vanderbilt University, turns his house in Nashville, Tennessee, into a Halloween fear lab - with a reward of candy for those who brave it.

On the traditional day that children dress up in costumes and go door to door for treats, skeletons hang from the tree, motion-activated sensors move objects around and there is a creepy fog floating around the house. Zald decorates in classic horror motif for fun, but the psychologist in him cannot help but observe the classic fear response in children.

"They want the candy, but they're not sure they want to come up," says Zald, who in the past has dressed up as a devil but this year will be costumed as the kitschy Disco Stu character from the animated TV series, "The Simpsons."

By the end of the night, even the young children are not fazed by ghouls and goblins. They control their fear to get the reward of candy, Zald said, and they learn a healthy lesson.

Fear is a negative emotion and for millions of Americans, it is disabling. Yet people love horror movies, and Halloween is a holiday that celebrates fear while rewarding children with sweets. There are scientific reasons for this odd mix.

"One of the odder aspects of human nature is our willingness to pay money to actually get scared," Zald said. "Essentially we get off on the excitement. We get a high arousal state and we actually find that appealing."

There are physical chemical rewards in our brain when we experience fear, yet cheat an anticipated painful threat, psychologists say. And fear-induced hormones, such as adrenaline, are pleasurable at times.

"Part of the fun of Halloween is that it's a way of experiencing fear in a pretty controlled setting," said University of Michigan psychology professor Stephen Maren. "People enjoy the fun and surprises, but they're putting themselves in situations where they are really not in danger."

Some people need that kind of excitement, which is similar to the rush felt when playing sports, said New York psychologist Linda Sapadin, author of the book "Master Your Fears."

"We do need some fear in our lives, otherwise things are too placid," she said.

On the other hand, she noted, people who live in war zones, do not go to horror movies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a briefing in Beijing that the question about the shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria had not been resolved yet. However, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said that S-300 missile systems had been delivered to Syria last month

Israel can learn many lessons with the help of Russia's S-300 air defence systems in Syria

Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems

Israel vows to destroy Russia's S-300 in Syria in case of danger
Comments
Russia to deliver S-300 air defence systems to Syria for free
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Putin to sign new decree to spend ten trillion rubles on social needs
Russia's S-300 systems against Tomahawk missiles flying towards Syria
World War Three is near? The West wants to bypass Russia's veto at UN Security Council
Israel vows to destroy Russia's S-300 in Syria in case of danger
Ukraine loses nearly 4,000 military men killing fellow Ukrainians in Donbass
World War Three is near? The West wants to bypass Russia's veto at UN Security Council
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Russia and China warn against 'chaos and war' on Korean Peninsula
Large lake of boiling water found on Mars
Chernobyl could have killed 40,000 people
Silk Road To Germany: New Molotov-Ribbentrop-Mao Pact
Putin: Russia's young scientists build world's most powerful arms system in 7 years
Israel vows to destroy Russia's S-300 in Syria in case of danger
Russia wants to be prepared for most severe sanctions that Washington is working on
Russia wants to be prepared for most severe sanctions that Washington is working on
Russian Air Force shows how NATO ships can be destroyed. Video
Two women fall victims to Moscow plastic surgeons in two weeks