Fight or flight is our body’s instinctual response to stress. it exists in the subconsciousness of our minds and helps us to make life and death decisions in the blink of an eye. The choice of whether to stay and fight, or to run away. However, the mundane stresses of modern life can cause this instinct to trigger itself in non-life-threatening circumstances. This overactive fight-or-flight response is the main cause for anxiety disorders.
Research has shown that the fight or flight response removes our ability to think rationally in high stress situations. Under these conditions, our brain activity moves away from the regions responsible for decision making and shifts into the instinctual parts of our brains responisble for reacting. What does this mean for our free will? Do we still posess the ability to make reasoned decisions when we are frightened? Is this a valid excuse for people who fail to act in moments of panic? What does this mean for our justice system if people aren’t capable of thinking rationally when under extreme stress?