The brain has a defense mechanism against the fear of death

Death is the logical conclusion of all things. Any living organism will die sooner or later. Against nature so far to go no one could. At the same time, you will agree, that death awaits us in the future, we do not think constantly. There is an assumption that our brain somehow protects us from thinking about the fear of death. And not so long ago one of the scientists shared his thoughts about this in your material for publication to The Guardian.

How the brain protects us from the fear of death?

Researcher Yair Dor-Ziderman from Bar-Ilan University in Israel believes that our brain is doing everything possible to keep us from thinking about our inevitable demise. His recent research has shown that the brain protects us from existential fear, classifying the death as an accident that only happens to other people.

The brain does not recognize that the death is connected to us. This protection is “switched on” in the early years, when our consciousness develops and we understand that death comes to us all. In that moment, when you have the ability to look into your own future, you realize that at some point you will die, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Dor Siderman. This contradicts the very essence of our biology, which aims to survive.

To investigate how the brain copes with thoughts of death, Dor Siderman and his colleagues have developed a special test. They asked volunteers to look at the screen with rapidly changing images of people’s faces. This time was recording brain activity of the subjects. After one and the same person appears multiple times, it was replaced by another. Over individuals appeared on the screen different words. In half of the cases it was associated with death, such as “funeral” or “burial.”

Since idle brain was deceived, it was activated the neural pathways associated with surprise. But then scientists discovered that if a native man’s face appeared next to a “deadly words”, his brain refused to associate himself with death, and any signals in the “regions of wonder” were recorded. About interesting discoveries in the field of neuroscience, we regularly reported on our website. So subscribe to us, so that nothing is missed.

This suggests that we protect ourselves from existential threats. We can’t deny the fact that we die. But we think of it more as something that happens to other people.

In the recent past, as noted by Zor-Tiderman, protecting our brain from thinking about death, balanced by the reality of death around us. Today, in his opinion, society is more afraid of death, because the sick people confined to hospitals, and the elderly to nursing homes. As a result, he suspects, significantly less people know about the end of life and, perhaps, more afraid of him.

Another researcher Arno Wiseman, a psychologist from the University of Kent, said that the brain and consciousness create numerous protection systems to prevent thoughts of death. His own work has shown that in modern society people have adopted what he called the phenomenon “the treadmill”.