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Fight-or-Flight Response

First introduced by Walter Cannon in the early 1920s, the fight-or-flight response, also referred to as defense reaction or emergency response, is conceptualized as a nonspecific, unconditioned, physiological response to perceived threat. The purpose of the fight-or-flight response is to prepare an organism for the strenuous effort to either fight off or flee from danger. Because the evolutionary function is to respond instantaneously to ensure survival, higher function cognitive processing is not required to initiate the unified action of the sympathetic nervous system. The fight-or-flight response is associated with strong autonomic nervous system activation, secretion of stress hormones, and symptoms of fear or panic. A practical example is unexpectedly being attacked by a stranger on the street. An instantaneous autonomic and hormonal response resulting in ...

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