It is possible that you might face a life-threatening situation today – modern life is full of risks from crossing the road, to being involved in a large-scale terrorist attack. How would you react? Could your reactions influence your chances of survival? Or is survival just down to luck? It is true that some factors affecting your survival, such as blocked fire exits or the lack of working safety equipment are out of your personal control. However, it is also true that individual psychological and physiological responses to threat can greatly influence your survival chances. This article considers what goes on in mind and brain when we strive to survive.
'First published in The Psychologist, vol.11 no.1,January 2012. Published by The British Psychological Society