Most people are probably familiar with the classic fight or flight response to a feared stimulus. If a snake were to fall from the ceiling on top of you as you read this, you have two options: fight off the snake or get away from it as quickly as possible.
The fight or flight response is a primitive and powerful survival reaction. Once the brain has perceived a danger or threat, bucketloads of adrenalin course through our veins, increasing heart rate, pumping blood to muscles, and moving our attention toward a very singular focus: fighting off or getting away from the threat.
We become so singularly goal-directed in that moment, we may not process (and therefore cannot remember) any extraneous details such as the colour of the snake, or what we actually did to get it off us and run. Many people report “operating on instinct” with no clear memory of how they got away from, or fought off a danger.
Image via iStock.
Who will fight rather than flee?
People who are more “approach motivated” (such as extroverts, risk-takers), tend to perceive the reward in situations. For example, if asked to try spider soup for the first time, an approach-motivated individual might think “how interesting, I wonder if it will taste better than it looks? If not, at least I can put a photo of me eating spiders on Facebook and impress all my friends”.