Evolution and anxiety

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Evolution and anxiety

توضیح مختصر

Has anxiety been good for humans?

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

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متن انگلیسی اپیزود

Rob Hello. This is 6 Minute English I’m Rob.

Neil And I’m Neil.

Rob Do you ever experience anxiety , Neil?

Neil Anxiety?

Rob Yes, you know, a feeling of being really worried or nervous without any real reason.

Neil Well not really, but I know for some people it can be quite a serious problem.

Rob Well anxiety may be a result of natural selection.

Neil Natural selection? You mean, the principle behind evolution?

Rob Yes. The idea that life on this planet has developed as a result of random changes in biology over many many years.

Neil So why have anxiety , that seems like a negative rather than a positive thing to develop?

Rob Well, we’ll find out more in this programme, but before we do, a quiz. Charles Darwin is famous for describing evolution by natural selection. What was the name of the ship he travelled on when he made his discoveries? Was it: a) HMS Beagle b) HMS Badger, or c) HMS Bear?
What do you think, Neil?

Neil Well I’m pretty sure I know this one, so I’m not going to give away the answer just yet.

Rob Well, you can let me know at the end of the programme, before I give the answer. Right, Dr Randolph Nesse is a doctor and psychologist. He has written a lot about how evolution has an impact on our mental condition, particularly anxiety. Recently he spoke on BBC Radio 4 ‘s ‘Start the Week’ programme about this topic. Listen out for the answer to this question. How long did he treat patients at the University of Michigan for?

Dr Randolph Nesse Natural selection has shaped all organisms to have special states to cope with certain kinds of circumstances. I treated patients with anxiety disorders for 40 years at the University of Michigan. It was only half way through that I started realising that anxiety is there for a good reason.

Rob
So Neil, how long did he treat patients for at the University of Michigan?

Neil He says that he did that for 40 years, but it was only after about 20 years or so that he realised that we suffer from anxiety for a good reason.

Rob We’ll find out that reason shortly but first he said that natural selection has shaped all organisms. This means that we are the result of natural selection. It has made us what we are.

Neil And it has made us able to cope with different situations. To cope with means being able to deal with, being able to manage a difficult situation.

Rob And anxiety , if it’s not too great, is a way of dealing with particular situations. Let’s hear from Dr Nesse again.

Dr Randolph Nesse Natural selection has shaped all organisms to have special states to cope with certain kinds of circumstances. I treated patients with anxiety disorders for 40 years at the University of Michigan. It was only half way through that I started realising that anxiety is there for a good reason.

Rob So why is anxiety a necessary thing, why is it something that, within reason, is not a bad emotion. Here ‘s Dr Nesse talking about his patients who suffer from too much anxiety.

Dr Randolph Nesse What you’re having is a normal kind of emergency response which is great in life-threatening situations but for you it’s a false alarm like a smoke detector going off when you burn the toast. And after that many of my patients said - ‘Oh, that makes perfect sense, I think I won’t need your help after all, doctor’.

Rob So what is anxiety?

Neil Well, it’s your body reacting to danger, like an emergency response, a warning. In really dangerous situations, which could harm you or even kill you, which Dr Nesse describes as life-threatening situations, it ‘s a useful response to warn you to take action or to prepare for action.

Rob But some people experience anxiety when there is no real danger. It ‘s a false alarm, like when you burn the toast and the smoke detector alarm starts or as he says, goes off! And he says that some patients can feel less worried after that, when they realise anxiety is a natural thing Let ‘s hear from Dr Nesse again.

Dr Randolph Nesse What you’re having is a normal kind of emergency response which is great in life-threatening situations but for you it ‘s a false alarm like a smoke detector going off when you burn the toast. And after that many of my patients said - ‘Oh, that makes perfect sense, I think I won’t need your help after all, doctor’.

Rob
Time now to review today’s vocabulary, but first, let’s have the answer to the quiz question. What was the name of the ship Charles Darwin travelled on when he made his discoveries about evolution? Was it: a) HMS Beagle b) HMS Badger, or c) HMS Bear? What do you think, Neil?

Neil Well, I’m pretty sure it’s HMS Beagle.

Rob Well, you are right. Charles Darwin travelled on HMS Beagle. Congratulations if you also knew that. Now, on with today’s vocabulary. We were talking about anxiety , a feeling of being worried or scared, a feeling that something isn’t quite right.

Neil Dr Nesse suggests that anxiety is a result of natural selection. This is the principle of evolution whereby random changes in the biology of a living thing can make it more likely to survive in a particular environment.

Rob These changes shape the living thing. They make it what it is. They help it to cope with different situations. Which means that they help it manage or deal with those situations.

Neil A life-threatening situation is a very dangerous situation which could cause serious injury or even death.

Rob And finally there was the phrasal verb to go off. For example, if an alarm goes off , it means that is starts making a loud noise as a warning. Right, before any alarms start to go off here, we need to wrap up. That ‘s all from us today, do join us again next time. Until then, you can find us online, on social media and on our app. Look out for bbclearningenglish. Bye for now.

Neil Goodbye!

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