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JOANNA BOURKE QUOTES

Like other sets of habits, emotions had to be learned. So, fear was not an instinctive reaction to phylogenetically predetermined objects or events, but was a learned response occurring on 'signals' or conditioned stimuli.... Consequently it came as no surprise ... that children shared their mother's fears. This shared community of fear within the family was not due to inheritance of psychic mechanisms: it was learned. After all, the behaviourists pointed out, there was no direct relationship between fear and vulnerability. Indeed, the most defenceless of all human beings (the new-born child) was the least fearful of all God's creatures.

JOANNA BOURKE, Fear: A Cultural History

The boundaries between fear and other emotions are not clear-cut. How does fear differ from dread, consternation or surprise? Anger, disgust, hatred and horror all contain elements of fear. Jealousy may be understood as fear of losing one's partner; guilt may be fear of God's punishment; shame may be fear of humiliation. I history of fear would be rendered meaningless if all negative emotional states were classified as 'really' being fear states.

JOANNA BOURKE, Fear: A Cultural History


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