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Scope of Chemistry

The study of how matter and energy create the physical world we interact with.

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Chemistry of Fear

Chemistry of Fear

Credit: Leo Hidalgo
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ileohidalgo/8724496112
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Even if it’s just because of a scary movie, when you’re afraid your body reacts. Your heart starts racing, you feel short of breath, and your hands get clammy. Why does fear affect us this way? It’s all about chemistry.

News You Can Use

  • Chemistry is the study of matter, especially at the level of chemical molecules and chemical reactions.
  • The human body is made of matter, so it’s not surprising that chemistry is needed to understand how the body behaves. Even emotions such as fear are controlled by chemicals and chemical reactions. Fear starts out in the brain.
  • How does it end up changing the chemistry of the body? Watch this video to find out: http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/chemistry-now/chemistry-of-fear-and-fright

What do you think?

At the links below, learn more about the chemistry of fear. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How can fear be defined in terms of body chemistry?
  2. What happens when the brain recognizes a situation as potentially life threatening?
  3. What is the fight or flight response?
  4. What are hormones, and what role do they play in the fight or flight response?
  5. How do hormones control specific organs and tissues?
  6. When is the fight or flight response a good thing? How can it be a bad thing? What do you think?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Leo Hidalgo; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ileohidalgo/8724496112; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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