Fear Itself

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Matthew Sweet On The Little Albert Experiment20150223

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear, from a philosopher who believed it underpins all human relationships, to an autistic woman whose unique insight into fear made her campaign for better treatment of animals, to a terrifying experiment to instil fear in a toddler.

Tonight writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet uncovers the tragic history of The Little Albert Experiment, conducted by John B Watson, a 1920s psychologist who conditioned a toddler to recoil from a white rat and, eventually, any white fluffy object.

Producer Laura Thomas.

02Kier-La Janisse20150224

02Kier-La Janisse20150224

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear, from a philosopher who believed it underpins all human relationships, to an autistic woman whose unique insight into fear made her campaign for better treatment of animals, to a terrifying experiment to instil fear in a toddler.

Kier-La Janisse is a writer and the Founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and reflects on how educational films like Dark and Lonely Water, The Finishing Line and Signal 30 have scared more children more deeply than any horror feature film, and explains how - in paranoid mid-twentieth century America - fear was exploited to create an educational film boom.

Producer Laura Thomas.

02Kier-La Janisse20150224

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear, from a philosopher who believed it underpins all human relationships, to an autistic woman whose unique insight into fear made her campaign for better treatment of animals, to a terrifying experiment to instil fear in a toddler.

Kier-La Janisse is a writer and the Founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and reflects on how educational films like Dark and Lonely Water, The Finishing Line and Signal 30 have scared more children more deeply than any horror feature film, and explains how - in paranoid mid-twentieth century America - fear was exploited to create an educational film boom.

Producer Laura Thomas.

03Quentin Skinner20150225

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear, from a philosopher who believed it underpins all human relationships, to an autistic woman whose unique insight into fear made her campaign for better treatment of animals, to a terrifying experiment to instil fear in a toddler.

Professor Quentin Skinner of Queen Mary University of London tells the story of how 17th century British philosopher Thomas Hobbes came to believe that "fear and I were twin born" and to write fear into the heart of his political philosophy, arguing that it underpins all human motivation and action.

Producer Laura Thomas.

04Temple Grandin20150226

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear, from a philosopher who believed it underpins all human relationships, to an autistic woman whose unique insight into fear made her campaign for better treatment of animals, to a terrifying experiment to instil fear in a toddler.

Author and animal scientist Temple Grandin tells the story of how, in 1949, she was diagnosed with autism at aged two. Autism was not always well understood at the time, but Grandin's mother refused to accept the notion that her daughter could never participate in mainstream society. Grandin has since become a leading advocate for autistic people, explaining the role fear and anxiety plays in their condition and how they those feelings can be managed. Her experience of fear has also given her a unique insight into animal welfare, and led her to campaign for improved animal rights and care of livestock.

Producer Laura Thomas.

05Raymond Tallis20150227

05Raymond Tallis20150227

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear.

At first sight it appears that fear can be understood in a straightforward way as an adaptive response, promoting behaviour to protect us from threats to life and limb. In humans, however, the biological givens are invariably transformed and serve ends not envisaged in biology.

Physician and philosopher Raymond Tallis explores the uniqueness of human fear, how it is rooted in the distinctive nature of human as opposed to animal consciousness, and how it is often led by thought and imagination. He considers why, seemingly perversely, we might enjoy cultivating fear through stories and games.

Producer Laura Thomas.

05Raymond Tallis20150227

Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress ("the only thing to fear is fear itself") and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear.

At first sight it appears that fear can be understood in a straightforward way as an adaptive response, promoting behaviour to protect us from threats to life and limb. In humans, however, the biological givens are invariably transformed and serve ends not envisaged in biology.

Physician and philosopher Raymond Tallis explores the uniqueness of human fear, how it is rooted in the distinctive nature of human as opposed to animal consciousness, and how it is often led by thought and imagination. He considers why, seemingly perversely, we might enjoy cultivating fear through stories and games.

Producer Laura Thomas.