FEAR OF THE DARK

 

People, at least as children, tend to be afraid of the dark—or afraid of things that might be “out there” in the dark.  Our parents help us learn not to be afraid, so Fear of the Dark cannot be learned behavior.  It must be instinctive, genetically-coded behavior.

 

In your group, work out a scenario that would lead to the development of this fear in humans.  You need to know:

1.  many behaviors are instinctive (genetically coded)

2.  mutations can change instinctive behavior, just as they can change anything genetic

3.  therefore, an instinctive behavior such as Fear of the Dark must be genetically variable; some people are more afraid, some people are less afraid.

Your challenge is to think of a plausible series of events that would have resulted in our ancestors passing on (to us) their genes for Fear of the Dark, rather than for Not Being Afraid of the Dark.

 

Remember, many thousand years ago, there were a very large number of large predators, many of which hunted at night.  We have killed most of them by now, though lions and tigers still remain.

 

 

Feel free to consider various things, including: “people evolved in order to survive;” “people mutated in order for the species to survive;” and the well-known observation that many animals (rabbits, squirrels, etc) run and hide as soon as anything larger comes near.  Make sure that your scenario is plausible.