Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear

We all know the signs of fear: sweaty palms, goose bumps, rapid heartbeat, heavy breathing. Though they may not be the most helpful responses to modern fears such as speaking in public or applying for a job, these reactions have a purpose beyond unsettling your nerves. Shaking, for example, happens when the blood rushes to various muscles, preparing the body to "fight or flight" if need be. "Goose Bumps!" will explore the science behind our reactions to frightening situations. Using a computer, you can monitor responses and learn more about what triggers fear. Others activities will require you to face that which terrifies you and further analyze it, like the freefall course, or the creepy crawlers. Not all animals were created equally in their capacity for fear; one section of the exhibit will feature brain samples, where you can check out the size of the amygdale (the area of the brain that gages appropriate fear responses) on various species.
Feb. 13-May 3, 2009

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