Study Closer threats inspire a more primitive kind of fear


Different use of brain circuits may help explain the tenacity of post-traumatic stress

And that, according to a new study using virtual reality to make threats appear near or far, is probably what makes it harder to extinguish the fear of a close-up threat and more likely that you'll have some long-term stress from the experience.

It has been shown that traumatic events that touch the body, like rape and other physical assaults, are more strongly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder than are traumas viewed at some distance.

Now, thanks to a clever adaption that put research subjects into a 3D virtual reality environment while their brains were being scanned by an MRI machine, researchers have seen just how the circuitry of those brain responses differ.

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