The Scientific Truth Behind Being Afraid Of The Dark

afraid of the dark

It’s no secret that most of us have been scared of the dark during our childhood years. In fact, it’s just one of the most common fears that every child can experience aside from being afraid of lighting, creepy clowns, or what lies underneath the bed.

But why is it that some people can’t seem to grow out of this anxiety? Why are some individuals still afraid of the dark even if they are way past their childhood stage? Get to understand the scientific truth behind being afraid of the dark as you go through today’s entry.

But Why Are We Afraid Of Darkness In The First Place?

The scientific truth behind our fear in darkness is actually hardwired in our brain. And to explain this in a simple manner, let’s go back to the time of our prehistoric ancestors. During those times, people hurriedly get inside the caves when the sun goes down because predatory animals usually roam around in the evening and hunt for their prey in darkness.

As prehistoric man gather ‘round the bonfire, they hear strange sounds outside the cave and wonder what’s out there. And since they are unable to pinpoint the source of most of those sounds, they begin to speculate and create ideas of what are those which, in the process, gave rise to fearful images of monstrous beings and deadly creatures in an attempt to give an explanation to what they heard. As a result, humans associate darkness with fear because we equate it with the scary side of unlimited possibilities or the fear of the unknown which consequently developed a revolutionary response to ensure the survival of our species.

This is the reason why kids typically get scared when the lights are off because they think that monsters are coming out to take their toys, robbers might come in the house to steal, or just any other imaginable things that they believe and must do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

Then Why Some Adults Still Have This Fear?

Amazingly, the fear of the dark is common among adults too. But instead of fearing nonsensical stuff, the reasons behind are actually more factual and grounded. To be specific, some people are afraid to wake up in the dark in the middle of the night because they are “poor sleepers” and are worried they may not be able to get back to sleep especially, if they get out of bed.

Moreover, in some cases, there are adults who don’t want to walk around in the dark because they are afraid of getting injured because they are unable to see where they’re going.

Still, we can discount the fact that some adults are still scared of the dark specifically, when they hear strange noises because they can’t explain where these thuds and scratches are coming from. But as previously mentioned this is just a phobia that we’ve developed as human beings over the course of time.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the scientific truth behind our fear in the dark lies in the evolutionary response of being scared to whatever the imagination can conjure once the lights are turned off. So don’t worry if you’re still scared of the dark during your adult age because it’s just a defense mechanism to keep you safe.

For more awesome science facts, check out We Want Science’s website. They’ve got a ton of interesting science-related articles there, make sure to check out this page if you’re interested in seeing some cool space stuff.

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