Intimidating children

The top ten fears were, in order: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, criminal or gang violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war.In an estimate of what people fear the most, book author Bill Tancer analyzed the most frequent online queries that involved the phrase, "fear of..." following the assumption that people tend to seek information on the issues that concern them the most.

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Fear in human beings may occur in response to a specific stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to body or life.

The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.

In humans and animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that there is only a small set of basic or innate emotions and that fear is one of them.

Thus fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. This hypothesized set includes such emotions as acute stress reaction, anger, angst, anxiety, fright, horror, joy, panic, and sadness.

Fear is closely related to, but should be distinguished from, the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.

The noun "fear" stems from the Middle English words feer, fere and fer, the Old English fǣr for "calamity" or "danger" (and its verb fǣran, "frighten", but also "revere") and is related to the Proto-Germanic fērą, "danger", the Proto-Indo-European *per, "to attempt, try, research, risk".

In German the word for "danger" is Gefahr, in Dutch gevaar, in Swedish fara, in Albanian frikë, and in Latin perīculum, which is the root for the term in the Romance languages.

As a noun "fear" can be used in three ways with different meanings: In the uncountable form fear is a strong, uncontrollable and unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger, e.g.

"He was struck by fear on seeing the snake." In the countable form, and when used with the indefinite article, a "fear" means a phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone, e.g.

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