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 Predator and Prey

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on October 18, 2010

Laboratory research on a natural predator-prey relationship provides new insight on stress. The findings have implications for care provided to victims of terrorism or natural disasters.

Anxiety, or the reaction to a perceived danger, is a response that differs from one animal or human to another — or so scientists thought.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University believe the laboratory research challenges what we know about stress.

Prof. David Eilam and his research team are spearheading a study designed to investigate the anxieties experienced by an entire social group.

Using the natural predator-and-prey relationship between the barn owl and the vole, a small animal in the rodent family, researchers were able to test unified group responses to a common threat.

The results, which have been reported in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, demonstrated that while anxiety levels can differ among individuals in normal circumstances, surprisingly, group members display the same level of anxiety when exposed to a common threat.

Prof. Eilam says that this explains human behavior in response to trauma or terror, such as the citizens of New York City in the days after the 9/11 terror attacks, or after natural disasters such as the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

These are times when people stand together and accept a general code of conduct, explains Prof. Eilam.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/10/18/new-insight-on-stress-and-anxiety/19704.html



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