Ohman, A., & Mineka, S. (2001). Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning. Psychological Review, 108(3), 483-522.

An evolved module for fear elicitation and fear learning with 4 characteristics is proposed. (a) The fear module is preferentially activated in aversive contexts by stimuli that are fear relevant in an evolutionary perspective. (b) Its activation to such stimuli is automatic. (c) It is relatively impenetrable to cognitive control. (d) It originates in a dedicated neural circuitry, centered on the amygdala. Evidence supporting these propositions is reviewed from conditioning studies, both in humans and in monkeys; illusory correlation studies; studies using unreportable stimuli; and studies from animal neuroscience. The fear module is assumed to mediate an emotional level of fear learning that is relatively independent and dissociable from cognitive learning of stimulus relationships.

purpose and overview.

likeToobey &Cosmedes 92.

in the 8th part, we develop a “levels of learning” concept to reconcile data from human conditioning with the database from animal research on fear and its neural mechanism.

The module is selective and has automaticity, and encapsulation.

The evolutionary origin is predation, i.e. fight or flight.

Social fears may originate in conspecific attack and self defense.

Goes back Seligman 1970, 1971

Also Mineka’s vicarious learning expts with lab-reared monkeys.

in which if both snake and flower are present, the snake overshadows the flower

arguments about sensitization, but they support association.

“At the heart of phobia, there is a dissociation between fear and cognitive understanding that is consistent with the e automaticity and encapsulation of fear characterizing the evolved module.”

Ledoux emphasized that the amygdala sends more information to the cortex than it receives from it.

They have lots on the amygdala.

p. 513. Two levels of learning in human conditioning.   (cf Lieberman, 2000; page 167-170)