Dystopian Societies Essay

2159 words - 9 pages

Current Research on Fear of Darkness
The fear of the dark is a common fear or phobia among children and, to a varying degree, of adults. Fear of the dark is usually not fear of darkness itself, but fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by darkness. Some degree of fear of the dark is natural, especially as a phase of child development. Most observers report that fear of the dark seldom appears before the age of 2 years. When fear of the dark reaches a degree that is severe enough to be considered pathological, it is sometimes called achluophobia. Some researchers, beginning with Sigmund Freud, consider the fear of dark as a manifestation of separation anxiety disorder. An ...view middle of the document...

Unfortunately, darkness is something nobody can entirely avoid, which makes a phobia of it all the more debilitating. New research suggests that a marked percentage of insomnia sufferers might actually be afraid of the dark.-which the tension and anxiety they feel at night is not because they know they won’t sleep but because they know they will have to turn the light off. Colleen Carney, a psychologist at Toronto’s Ryerson University, tested this by surveying students about their sleep habits, and then comparing their reactions to a faint, unexpected noise in daylight and in darkness. She was surprised to find that 46% confessed to a fear of the dark, and the poorer sleepers startled a great deal more in the dark, with their fear increasing with each burst of noise. Normal sleepers got used to the noise, or were no more startled in the dark than in the daylight. (Brunet, 2010). Admitting that you are scared of the dark in your adult life can be difficult but it may be important for your health. Scientists at Ohio State University have discovered that sleeping with the light on, however dim, can be bad for you, affecting the structure of the brain and raising the odds of depression. These effects are caused by the suppression of the hormone melatonin by any night time light.
Recently, OnlineClock.net hired researchers to investigate the subject of the fear of darkness. The site published the results of the investigation through the use of static information graphics. Tom Churm, owner of OnlineClock.net said, “Many people are afraid of the dark, and I wanted to publish some solid information on the site so that it would give our visitors the opportunity to compare facts with beliefs. Some people fear the darkness so much that they literally lose sleep over it”. According to the experts, sometimes people experience a phobia associated with darkness. The name of the phobia that describes the fear of darkness is known as achluophobia. Although most people don’t have a phobia of darkness, many do become apprehensive about it in certain situations. Many experts believe that the basis for fear of darkness is genetically encoded. Researchers state that our ancestors were afraid of the dark because they feared being attacked by nocturnal predators. It is thought that this fear was simply passed on through human ancestry. Although the senses of other nocturnal creatures have evolved to compensate for lack of light, humans remain helpless in the dark. Tom Churm commented, “There are many people who believe that this fear is unwarranted. However, in one study of lion attacks in Tanzania, most of the attacks occurred at night. This would indicate that our primitive ancestors have solid reasons to fear the darkness. After all, who wouldn’t fear being a lion’s next meal?
Fortunately, men have evolved; they no longer sleep in open areas that can be accessed by wild animals. It seems that the fear of darkness persists, and it begins at a...

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