What is the name of a scared person

Fear and anxiety

Why should fear be a motive? After all, fear is a momentary state in a person - and not a class of goals a person strives for. Fear is just de-motivating, i.e. it leads to something Not is done!
That is exactly what makes fear a motif! The motive would have to be called "avoiding fear" or "ending fear" more precisely, because that is the goal of the behavior that occurs as a result of fear: fear motivates to end fear.

Still, some confusion remains. Because in Chapter 1 we defined a motive as a disposition to strive for a value-laden target state. But where is the goal here? At least one external goal cannot be identified in this case. At most an inner goal, precisely the non-occurrence of fear. But if this goal is so difficult to observe, how can one identify the behavior that is directed towards this goal, the "fear avoidance behavior"? Isn't it possible to understand all behavior in such a way that fear is to be avoided? The fact that I am currently sitting quietly on the chair is therefore a fear-avoiding behavior in that I avoid climbing out of the window and being afraid ...

But enough of the brooding. Let's just hold on to the fact that fear is something that motivates us to take certain actions. These actions are not so much linked in terms of content, but rather are characterized by the fact that an unsafe situation is avoided at the expense of the possible gain that this situation could have brought with it: If an examination is avoided out of fear, one deprives oneself of the opportunity a satisfaction of the achievement motive. Avoiding contact with a stranger deprives you of the chance of satisfying the curiosity motive and the affiliation motive, etc.

Thus, fear is a sensible regulator of the organism, a protection against excessive danger. As is known from everyday life, however, some people have more, others less need to protect themselves from danger. This is easiest to read from the insurances that people take out, but also from their eating habits, behavior in traffic, on the stock market etc. etc. (It is not for nothing that the term "risk society" is on everyone's lips - especially after the "11. September"...)

A person who has a slight tendency to be afraid can therefore be described as "fearful". anxiety the motif can thus be described as "Tendency to fear avoidance behavior" understand. We want to analyze this motive in more detail below.

One more word to distinguish between fear and fear (or fearfulness and fearfulness). In everyday life we ​​use both terms synonymously. In psychology, a distinction is often made - rather vaguely - between a rather unspecific, general fear and a fear directed at a concrete object. The distinction between irrational and rational also plays an implicit role here: if you run away from a tiger in the jungle, you are afraid, but in a thunderstorm you are afraid. If you are afraid, the answer to the question "of what?" usually easy, but difficult when fearful.
Most of the time, however, "fear" is simply used as a generic term, as is the case in the following. Accordingly, one speaks, for example, of an examinationanxiety and not from examsfear - although its object - the fear of failure in the exam - is something very concrete.

Drive theoretical contributions

Janet Taylor and Kenneth Spence have made important contributions to research on anxiety. In their investigations, they try to make the drive theory developed by Hull (see Chapter 2) useful for human psychological research.

According to Hull, all currently existing need states flow together in a person to form a general drive which, together with the strength of habit (number of intensified stimulus-response connections), determines the probability of a reaction to a stimulus occurring. Taylor and Spence now picked out one of these potential need states, the current fear in the situation. (She kept the other possible need states constant in her experiments.)

Now, however, they did not induce fear in their test subjects by confronting them with fear-inducing stimuli, but recorded theirs anxiety. This was done with the help of a questionnaire, the "Manifest Anxiety Scale" (MAS).
The question now was what influence fearfulness has on solving easy and difficult tasks. Hull's theory makes the following prediction: Because instinct and habit strength are multiplicatively linked, a high instinct strength is beneficial for solving problems if the correct solution is more likely, i.e. has already been learned quite well. This is the case with "light" tasks. The higher the anxiety, the more easy it is to solve easy tasks. A low drive strength, on the other hand, is not beneficial for easy tasks - but it does for difficult tasks: Here the correct solution is rather improbable and, due to the multiplicative effect of the drive strength, the greater the drive strength is, the less likely it is. Correspondingly, it is better to have a low drive strength.

In short: Hull's theory predicts
- that fearful people do better at easy tasks than non-fearful ones
- that non-anxious people do better than anxious people in difficult tasks

These predictions could be confirmed in various kinds of tasks (from learning to blink reflexes on signal words to complex problem-solving tasks).
But does that mean that this applies regardless of whether the test subjects are actually afraid in the task situation or not? One could imagine a task situation in which even the most fearful person is not afraid, e.g. if no social pressure is built up, the person only solves the task for himself and for fun. Do the mentioned effects even then show themselves? Or do they only show up in threatening situations, when there is cause for fear (no matter how small).

The first possibility was called "chronic hypothesis", the second "reactive hypothesis". The first emphasizes the influence of the disposition (trait) to fear (= fearfulness), the second rather the influence of the current state (state) of fear. In the 1970s, Spielberger conducted state trait with his test, which is still important today -Anxiety-Inventory "(STAI) carried out empirical studies on this question. These were more in favor of the reactive hypothesis. So anxious people are not anxious in the sense that they always are slightly more anxious than those who are not anxious, but simply respond more strongly to anxiety-relevant stimuli.

Conversely, however, the hypotheses believed to be confirmed must also be reconsidered or corrected on the basis of Hull's theory: anxious people do not have problems with the tasks due to the difficulty of the task, but the difficulty (in the sense of perceived complexity) is which usually leads to fear in the situation. In other words: Anxiety is not decisive, but the current state of anxiety.

This is supported by an interesting finding by Spielberger. According to this, fearful people are only particularly fearful of situations that are related to self-esteem or social standing. When confronted with physical threats, however, they react just as fearfully as the non-fearful. What we generally call "fearfulness" therefore only exists, strictly speaking, as a specific "fear of self-worth".
All right? If not, then try the presentation by Heckhausen (1989), pp.220-224. There is also a description of another important study on anxiety, namely that of Mandler and Saranson (1952).

Bibliography:
- Heckhausen (1989), 220-224
- Schneider & Schmalt (2000): Parts from Chapter 7

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