Panic as Stimulation-Avoidance
DOI link for Panic as Stimulation-Avoidance
Panic as Stimulation-Avoidance book
This chapter suggests that immobility responses are usefully interpreted as stimulation-avoidance behavior; that is, as a biological phenomenon that serves to minimize contact with the environment and to reduce all forms of sensory input. A fundamental characteristic of human beings and of many other species is their capacity for forming attachments to other humans, to other living things and to various aspects of the physical and psychological environment. Immobility reactions in humans, often accompanied by states of depersonalization or derealization, have been observed in a wide variety of situations ranging from combat to bombing raids and natural disasters. David Livingstone's survival from the episode was attributed to his complete immobility. J. A. M. Meerloo describes immobility reactions as "sham death" and suggests that it may provide a kind of camouflage from attackers. He links it to the mimicry of some of the lower animals who assume the characteristics of their environment when threatened.