Anxiety & Fear: Processing threatening stimuli in the age of new media

Terrorist attacks; scare tactics from politicians; the sky is falling; we're all in danger from everywhere – the non-stop drive for ratings and attention from media all fuel our worries and anxieties and can endanger our mental well being.

Advances in technology in the area of communication and information access such as smartphones, tablets, and Internet-based applications have provided the modern person with the capability to gather and process a voluminous amount of information in a short period of time. Mobile devices, for example, provide individuals with a constant, "streaming" connection to the Internet and his or her "social network." While this constant flow of information may be beneficial to some and help assist with cognitive multi-tasking, there is also the potential that this increased accessibility may adversely affect an individual's psychological well-being.

Response to threats is processed in terms of Proximity, Intensity, Immediacy, and Probability.

NS faculty member, Dr. Seth Norrholm, briefly discusses the human emotions of fear and anxiety, how we are "wired," and how to appropriately deal with these feelings in today's (largely wireless) Age of New Media, by presenting practical ways to think and act to resist a false sense of anxiety.

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