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A group of soldiers were instructed by their squad leader to exterminate vicious feral mutants, known as ‘roaches’. These ‘roaches’ allegedly pillaged a village located deep within a forest. If you are now wondering whether mutants do exist in this lifetime, well, the answer lies in an episode of a current popular TV series, Black Mirror. In this episode, titled “Men against Fire,” the soldiers show no qualms or hesitation in hunting and killing ‘roaches’ that were being sheltered by an eccentric pastor.
These ‘roaches’ are depicted to viewers as zombies, equipped with razor sharp teeth, distorted facial features and high-pitched screams. This clever portrayal of less-than-human beings also puts us at odds with anyone who would try to defend; the very sight of these mutants is sufficient to trigger fear. Fear is not always a bad thing, of course. Fear is a primitive emotion – an emotion that prompts our survival instincts and alerts us to danger, making this emotion a functional, necessary and adaptive one. Findings from one study, for example, demonstrated the inclination towards more pessimistic judgement and choices as well as augmented perception of risk in a given situation, when participants felt fearful compared to those who felt happy or angry . What this means is that fear encourages a useful sense of caution, encouraging us to avoid further risk or potential loss. In this manner, fear is regarded an ‘avoidance-type’ emotion.