Washington: Biologists and psychologists have long known that light affects mood, but a new study has indicated that light may also play a role in modulating fear and anxiety.University of Virginia researchers, who used mice as models, learned that intense light enhances fear or anxiety in mice, which are nocturnal, in much the same way that darkness can intensify fear or anxiety in diurnal humans. “We looked at the effect of light on learned fear, because light is a pervasive feature of the environment that has profound effects on behavior and physiology,” said Brian Wiltgen, an assistant professor of psychology and an expert on learning. “Light plays an important role in modulating heart rate, circadian rhythms, sleep/wake cycles, digestion, hormones, mood and other processes of the body. In our study we wanted to see how it affects learned fear.” “Learned” fear is not innate but comes from experiences such as dangerous or bad situations, and this learning can protect us from dangers, researchers said.
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