• Question: Why does the human body react so quickly to certain surroundings?

    Asked by ells8 to clairemarieroberts, Faye, Martin, Mus, Pete on 23 Apr 2012.
    • Photo: Pete Etchells

      Pete Etchells answered on 23 Apr 2012:


      Were you thinking of any surroundings in particular? One of the most fascinating properties of the human body is that it is very adaptable! That can mean anything from sweating in hot weather to regulate your body temperature, to making you scared in dangerous situations, so that you get out of it quickly and don’t get hurt. In general, it’s really useful to react quickly to your surroundings, so that you can respond to whatever’s around you really quickly and in the right sort of way. If react slowly to things, that might mean that we miss grabbing something tasty, or we don’t avoid something dangerous, and in the long term that can be a disaster for our survival!

    • Photo: Faye Didymus

      Faye Didymus answered on 23 Apr 2012:


      As Pete says, the human body is really good at reacting quickly to certain situations. From a physiological point of view our body may react quickly to protect us from the environment. For example, we may sweat in hot conditions because this is our body’s way of cooling us down or we might shiver in cold conditions because our body is trying to warm up. Other situations though, take longer to react to – if we went up a mountain for example, we would have to go slowly in order to allow our body to acclimatise to the altitude. If we went up too quickly we could risk getting altitude sickness, which isn’t nice and can be dangerous. The same can be said for deep sea diving. I don’t know if you’ve ever been scuba diving but you have to go down slowly and come up to the surface slowly…this is again to allow your body to acclimatise to the depth of the water because it’s not very good at doing this quickly (maybe because most of us don’t do it too often?). As you say though, the body can react quickly to certain situations, especially from a psychological point of view! Sometimes we can think about a situation and react to it before we even realise we’ve done so! Have you heard of “survival of the fitest?” This may be one reason why, over many many years, our bodies and minds have become pretty good at reacting quickly to different soundings!

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