Children Can Acquire Fear Vicariously, By Watching Their Parents’ Reactions

How do children learn to fear things that aren’t obviously scary, but that do pose a threat — to learn, say, that touching the base of a lit barbecue is a very bad idea, so should never be done? A parent might explain that it’s dangerously hot. But as a new paper explores in detail, we also benefit from another more direct, wordless method of learning about threats. Or rather, we may typically benefit from it — but, the authors argue, it might also help to explain how anxiety disorders are transmitted down through generations. Continue reading →

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