What are your irrational fears?

Why are we so bad at gauging risk? That’s the question we’re looking into today at 10:20.

We’ll talk about phobias, worrying, and why we react irrationally when faced with certain situations. Do you fears SARS more than the seasonal flu? Do you fear flying more than driving?

When do you act irrationally?

Here’s one of today’s guests, Joseph LeDoux, explaining how the amygdala, the emotional center of our brain, works:

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host who fears enclosed spaces

  • Stephanie Curtis
  • Spiders, mostly because of this scene from “The Incredible Shrinking Man”:


  • Dale

    I find that I fear/worry more as I get older. Is this normal?

  • Jason

    I know statistically airplane travel is safer than driving in a car, but takeoff and landing still freaks me out each time I have to do it. I almost start crying sometimes and feel trapped. That seems like an irrational fear to me, and it isnt a “natural” phenomemon we would have encountered when we were evolving.

  • Kenny

    As a teen, I swam in the ocean just once, and I loved it! But then I learned about sting rays — and moray eels — I never went back.

  • Laurie

    Claustrophobia! Managed to get through an MRI several years ago–though I’m not sure how–and never want to have another. Can manage elevators, but I have to work at not thinking about the possibility of the doors not opening once I get to my floor.

    Have often wondered if it has anything to do with the fact that I was in, what was called at the time, an Isolette at birth–I needed oxygen so was apparently in an enclosed bed for a few days after I was born.

  • Peggy

    Here’s a poem I wrote. It’s titled CENTIPEDE.

    Lurking there in dark surprise,

    A horror poised to shock my eyes;

    Satanic squiggle, spot from hell,

    Creepy beast I know too well.

    Damn’d thing clutching like a claw

    In stillness like a devil’s paw;

    Infernal spreading on display,

    A hated hindrance on my way

    But God forbid that it should jiggle

    Lest it prod my skin to wiggle!

    Prince of Darkness, flagrant stain,

    You flash me there, on your terrain.

    Peggy Dunnette copyright 1993

  • Kitura Main

    I work at the Headwaters Science Center in Bemidji, MN where we have live animals that our guests can hold. everyone thinks that it is females that are scared of the animals. This is not so. Girls of all ages are much more likely to handle the animals and to “get over it” if they are scared. I thought about this for a long time. Why? My theory is that back in the hunter gather lifestyle men could stay away from the “creepy” stuff while in order for women to accomplish their goal they had to deal with the creepys…. Move the snake out of the way in order to dig up the tubers..or what every. What do you think?

  • Julie

    I have an irrational fear of someone breaking in to my house in the middle of the night. Any time I hear a noise, my heart starts beating harder & I start sweating. Usually this happens after I’m already awakened by something (like my son), but can sometimes happen if I hear a loud noise in my dream. The sound of the furnace/air moving around the house doesn’t help either. It’s also worse when my husband or the dog isn’t home & it seems to get worse as I get older. I know everything is locked up & there really aren’t “break in-type” noises going on, but I am always afraid of it…. always. It’s ridiculous.

  • So true. One of our greatest fears not only in the 21st century, is the fear of the other – man’s only enemy in nature. This translates into the fear of people from other cultures and religions. Therefore, as an anthropologist and founder of Forum of World Cultures I promote the idea or necessity to learn as much as we can about “others”. To me it is hard to believe, governments, education institutions etc. do still little to expand people’s consciousness about the world. We would have less wars and misunderstanding, because for many cases, knowledge could prevent fear to even appear.