Fear Experiment Reactions

Now that most of the class’ experiments are over, it’s time to reflect a little bit. I’d say everyone did a pretty great job overall, and there were several very brave (if perhaps ill concieved) presentations involving the sharing of personal stories. I thought the experiments that involved class participation and provoked conversation were far more effective than those in which the presentor just talked.

Amber Vanderpohl’s experiment was an extremely effective comment on how fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to our own bodies, can affect the way we think and act. She asked the class to close their eyes and eat and unknown substance out of a cup; something that I personally had a really hard time with, being squeamish when it comes to weird food. I’ll admit I had to wait to hear the reactions of my classmates before I could summon the courage to toss back whatever was in my dixie cup. (It turns out that eating Poprocks is kind of like eating fiberglass, though.)

None of the other experiments got me invested in the idea of fear quite as much as Amber’s. When you close your eyes, it’s a lot easier to focus on your other senses as Beth suggested. The first thing I noticed was my heartbeat picking up steam like a train. Then my imagination started wandering, as it tends to do, taking a mental tour of all the horrible, nasty things that I might be about to put in my mouth. When the first conclusion I come to is that whatever is in my cup will be harmful or gross, it’s easy to see how an emotion like fear is something that living things evolve to keep themselves from eating disgusting things in a college classroom.

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