Psychobiological bases for human cohabitation

If you do not understand the nature of fear, you will never find the courage” Chogyam Trungpa, Shambala


Like a painter, to create a painting and inspire enchantment and wonder,  needs to have infinite shades of color on his palette, just as we humans, to access the entirety of our experience on Earth,  need to try, in our life, the dazzling power of each of the infinite states of being at our disposal. And fear, undoubtedly, is one of these.


Many animals on the planet seem to manifest reactions of fear.  Recognizing the biological nature of this emotion, we can grasp its true root.

In many free primates in their habitat,  attacks of predators and those between members of the same group are unpredictable, frequent and can characterize the entire existence of the animal. In the wild, however, the activation of the nervous system generated by this frequent alert state is coherently discharged at a physiological level. To survive in fact it is necessary that such strong emotional reactions be essentially transitory and their organism is perfectly developed for this purpose.1

We humans, from the point of view of the functioning of the nervous system, are extremely similar to other mammals, especially primates. This awareness sheds light on our innate ability to return to a state of calm and openness to life even after experiencing episodes of fear or real experiences of terror.

Prehistoric populations must have spent long hours a day sheltered in dark and cold caves with the possibility of being torn from their shelter and torn to pieces.

Although most of us do not live in caves any more, we often continue to have an intense sense of impending danger that we expect comes from others belonging to our species or that we project outside or inside, unaware, on any representation of our mind.


Fear prevents us from opening ourselves to what life really has to offer.


It is an emotion2, a primordial force, an atavistic energy to “memory of the extinction” that we humans manifest on the level of complexity reached by the neurophysiology and the culture of our species and that, as such, can be taken in consideration under various points of view.

But what is its main meaning? What are the survival messages transmitted by this savage power that awakens in us?

Mainly it stimulates us to pay attention and eventually to act.

This is extremely useful and effective when we feel fear in the presence of a real danger or threat.

But what happens when we begin to perceive fear in an inconsistent way with what surrounds us or even worse, we feel completely stuck in a state of continuous restlessness and our mind tends to focus only on problems and complexities instead of flowing over the entire range of possibility object of our attention?


Physiological roots

The state of excitement typical of fear caused by an environmental threat leads to the activation of a series of autonomous responses and endocrine changes designed to promote self-preservation: the release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex and catecholamines from the adrenal medulla and sympathetic nerves. These hormones in turn provide feedback to the brain and influence neural structures that control emotional state and cognition.3

Although such responses improve the possibility of short-term survival, the excitement generated by fear is also one of the preferred ways of activating the stress response4 and when it becomes chronic it can completely alter the process of emotional and cognitive processing systems, information and the environment.

It can also contribute to the development of pathological conditions such as anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as a series of symptomatic problems such as impaired immune system, hypertension and insulin5, to cite only some of the best known for years in international scientific publications.


 In the body

To understand more easily what happens to our body in reality, we now see together how the physiological processes so far described manifest themselves in the presence of a threat.

Our organism in contact with fear spontaneously processes the impulses of fight, flight or immobility. If we try to schematize the instinctual reactions stimulated by the perception of a real or imaginary danger we could synthesize this sequence:

Arrest (increased vigilance, alert)

Stiffening and orientation (attention and preparation)

Escape (Initial escape attempt)

Attack (if the person is prevented from escaping or if the person has a dominance-oriented reaction scheme)

Freezing (if the threat is overwhelming or if the person has a dissociation-oriented reaction scheme he can naturally remain paralyzed by fear)

Folding (closing and impotence status)

The first defensive line implemented against a predator, an aggressor or a danger of another origin is generally an active defense. We lower ourselves, we move aside and we retract; we twist and raise our arms to protect ourselves from a fatal blow. We run away from potential predators or we attack them when we feel stronger than they are or have trapped us. Then, in addition to the well-known reactions of attack or flight, there is a third less known: immobilization. The ethologists from the observation of the behavior of the animals call this state of paralysis tonic immobility.6

On the basis of the individual’s resilience, the intensity of the experiences of danger experienced and the manner in which they have developed and eventually concluded, the organism can retain memories of the overwhelming events or, in some cases, damage the development of the system itself, stiffening in strongly activated circuits and maladaptive survival responses. Generally speaking, in such cases one can speak of post-traumatic stress that can manifest at a symptomatic, behavioral level or even generate distortions of identity.


 Tonic immobility and fear

Being ‘paralyzed by terror’ or ‘frozen for fear’, or alternatively collapsing and numbing, are expressions that accurately describe the physical, visceral, bodily experience of intense fear.7

The primary biological function of immobility, is to trigger a highly altered state of numbness, in which extreme pain and terror are muffled. This analgesic effect is carried by the release of endorphins, the complex system of which the body is equipped to relieve pain through morphine.

The flow into the bloodstream of these hormones can allow the victim to witness the event as if he were outside his body, and the violence was suffered by someone else. A similar distancing, called dissociation, helps make the intolerable tolerable.

Unfortunately, however, for many individuals involved in traumatic experiences, such dissociative reactions or ‘bodily memories’ are not negligible or transitory, but rather result in a wide variety of so-called psychosomatic chronic symptoms, inability to concentrate, orient themselves and live fully in the present.

A fear so difficult to manage prevents those who are victims of returning to balance and normal life. We usually refer to the ability to move from an intense emotional state to another fluidly, remaining vital witnesses of their emotional experience, conscious and rooted in the present moment, modes of resilience that are opposed instead to the condition in which you remain stuck in their past history.


Integrated perception of the real security status

The interdisciplinary dialogue that has been taking place in the last decades among the numerous areas of the sciences has allowed us to arrive to our day with various emerging evidences in the field of human therapy and sociology.

We can try to understand at a cognitive level the causes of anxiety and the fears that torment us, we can try to give us rational explanations, find understanding and relief, but the instinctual roots that generate the constant state of alertness, the rigidity, the contraction in our muscles and the inability to freely direct our focused attention reside elsewhere.

The continuous activation of the autonomic nervous system cannot be managed only by a cognitive approach, we need to access the perception of absence of danger in a deeper way and clearly felt up to the cellular level. We cannot feel safe in an environment until we feel safe enough in ourselves …


Memory and function of emotions

Emotions provide relevant data for survival as well as social interactions, to suggest the appropriate response in every type of situation, especially where trying to mentally calculate it would be far too slow and probably inadequate.

After a car accident in which at the age of twenty you have been hit by a blue colored car and you have not been able to step in behind before being bumped by the car, every time you cross the roadway you could jump when a blue vehicle is arriving on the way and your legs could strongly contract.

After a car accident in which at twenty years you have been hit by a blue car and you have not been able to take a step back before being hit by the car, every time you cross the roadway you could overpower the arrival of a medium of blue color and your legs could contract strongly.9

Sensory and emotional data and mental representations perceived at the time of the accident could be associated in the memory with a strong sense of danger. In this case a link could be established that would trigger the activation of the amygdala, of the brainstem and which could generate unconditional reflexes of response and even alter the mechanisms of gene expression.10

The function of emotional memory is to mark and codify important experiences for an effective and immediate future reference: as bookmarks, emotions are active signals that select a particular procedural memory from the catalog of possible motor action memories.

Emotional memories are activated by aspects of the present similar to those of situations of the past, perceived in a very intense way by the organism. They evoke physical sensations and procedural memories, impulses, movements, schemes of action often aimed at self-preservation.

The memory subsystems that preside over the instinctive survival reactions are the most profound and imperious. Persistent and maladaptive procedural and emotional memories11 constitute the central mechanism at the base of all traumas, as well as of many social and relational problems.12


Role of the amygdala

This almond-shaped brain area, which is part of the limbic regions located in the central part of the brain, can be activated immediately in response to signs of environmental danger or unconscious stimuli.

Once activated the amygdala has several ways to alert the body: a direct one to the so-called central grey substance, which produces the reaction that neurobiologists call freezing, another one towards the lateral hypothalamus that activates the sympathetic nervous system causing a rise in blood pressure and finally that which stimulates the paraventricular hypothalamus that activates the adrenal axis and other neuroendocrine axes with abundant production of hormones13 to prepare the system for action.

The processing of information coming from the context through the senses allows the nervous system to constantly evaluate the risks. The term neuroception describes how neural circuits are able to distinguish safe or threatening situations or persons for life.14

But it is important to understand that in the course of traumatic experiences or strong stresses that we have experienced, such as a street robbery, sensory information or some details about the environment we were in when it occurred, it could have been codified and regulated without conscious awareness (non-focused attention), activating neural circuits that store experience in implicit memory.

These sensitive data could remain extremely alive in us becoming real triggers that in some cases could trigger an autonomous response of the amygdala not consistent with the neuroception of the environment: hearing the steps of a person behind us while walking quietly on the beach , could activate neural associations unrelated to the real situation we are experiencing, involve old implicit memories linked to emotional survival reactions such as fear or anger, which being linked to the evolutionary level to self-preservation have a strong probability (priming) to be reactivated moment without being aware of their ancient traumatic origins.

Implicit memories cannot be intentionally re-evoked. Rather, they are a collage of sensations, emotions and behaviors, which appear and disappear surreptitiously, usually well beyond conscious awareness. They are memories based mainly on emotions or attitudes, ie “procedures”, the things that our body does automatically, also called “action patterns”.15



In the second half of the 20th century the fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration between the psychologist Carl Rogers and the philosopher Eugene Gendlin gave the western culture the development of an integrated approach to the precious field of implicit memories and autonomous reflexes connected to them.

Their pioneering research showed that people’s ability to make persistent changes in psychotherapeutic journeys was strongly linked to their ability to access bodily sensations and non-verbal plans of the experience they brought into therapy. Geldlin gave this intuitive mode of bodily perception the name of “felt sense”.

Internal sensations, which include states and movements of the body, such as activation states, temperature and muscle tension, are transmitted in an ascending direction through the spinal cord and the vagus nerve, with a flow of energy that propagates to the brain stem hypothalamus and then to the anterior cingulate and to the insula.16

Today we know that in patients with chronic post-traumatic disorders, the brain areas that preside over the awareness of the self (medial prefrontal cortex) and the body consciousness (insula) if observed with modern cerebral scanning techniques are often reduced. Unfortunately, the price of this change is enormous because the areas that convey pain and discomfort are the same ones that convey feelings of joy, pleasure, commitment and relational ties.17


Life as a flow: neuroplasticity

If episodes of a traumatic nature can strongly alter the anatomy and the functions that influence our feeling and the quality of our life, it is equally true that this happens also with regard to pleasant experiences in which our needs are met and we contact the pleasure of life.

Neuroplasticity is the phenomenon that refers to the potential of the human nervous system to shape its structure and its functionality in a more or less lasting way through experience18.

By modifying the activity and the structure of the synaptic connections that connect the nerve cells, the experiences mold the neural circuits responsible for processes such as memory, emotions and self-awareness.19

That is why in the treatment of chronic hypervigilance states related to fear and post-traumatic stress symptoms, scientists and international therapists have focused their attention not only on the patient’s thoughts but on the body’s awareness attached to them.

Therapeutic approaches that do not take into account the body, as they focus primarily on thoughts (top-down processing), will be limited. Peter Levine, an American biophysicist and psychologist has been proposing for decades the introduction from the bottom upwards, in the initial phases of the treatment, – “In other words, first tackle the body language and then, gradually, call into question emotions, perceptions and knowledge”-

In this sense the felt sense of the sensations within the body allows physiologically access to procedural memories, that is precisely to those implicit memories that cognitive therapies do not call at all, and that instead cathartic methods are often limited to stimulate without modifying the emotional intensity sometimes generating dissociation or

even retraumatization.

From a neural point of view the circuit formed by the thalamus, insula, anterior cingulate girdle and medial prefrontal cortex receives the enteroceptive information to which we have access through the felt sense20, the primary impulse from the sensory receptors internal to the body reaches the cerebral cortex in insula and in the cingulate gyrus and the latter area is the only one that effectively inhibits the amygdala fear response.21


Fear should not be fed or avoided, it must be crossed.

Any emotion, being energy in motion, has a wave nature. And the wave by its nature has a beginning and an end. If we are the sea, even in the storm, deep there is calm …

“The trauma does not reside in the external event that induces physical or emotional pain, or even pain itself. The trauma is generated when we are not able to free the blocked energies and to cross, one after the other, all the emotional physical reactions related to the experience that has hurt us. The trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold back in the absence of an empathic witness”. Gabor Maté thus synthetizes, in a magnificent way, the biological foundations underlying the liberation and transformation of high-activation states linked to fear.

In order to start decoupling environmental stimuli and maladaptive defensive behaviors triggered by implicit memories of the past, it is necessary to reconstitute in a protected environment a perception of basic security anchored to the sensations of the body.

The use of focused awareness and attention involves the limbic area of ​​the hippocampus allowing for the integration of information explicitly in the present. It allows you to remember brief parts of past experiences in which we have been in difficulty, but not to relieve them as in regression.

Before being able to try without fear the feelings associated with terror and annihilation, one must have made contact with the inner reserves of strength and healthy aggression and have learned to know them in the company of a person who is professionally prepared and possibly very experienced.

To facilitate the bottom-up processes in which sensations within the body will pass from the fixity of chronic activation to the flow of life, the therapist must have a precise perception of the instinctual imperative that has been inhibited when fear has overwhelmed the person assisted.

In this sense, the use of the Somatic Experiencing method allows conscious access to small portions of the implicit and disturbing memories associated with past traumatic experiences, to perceive the intensity of residual activation linked to them and to modulate them by means of titration and orientation to experiences supportive enteroceptive in the present. The person is accompanied by the facilitator to perceive in the protected environment in which the session is performed, the action patterns, the bodily impulses stimulated by old memories, so as to consciously complete the innate defensive responses associated with them.

In order to cope with maladaptive symptoms generated by serious adversity, both the motivational system and the action system must be activated, controlled at the endocrine level by dopamine and amphetamine.22 It is necessary to mobilize both in the therapeutic process and proceed in an extremely gradual manner in order to root an integrated sense of strength that nurtures the personal power of the user.

Here lies the skill of the facilitator. The person must have all the time to integrate the various steps at the organic level so as to allow a reorganization of his experience that, according to the system of transmission of information from bottom to top called bottom up, also allows cognitive level to let new understandings emerge.


Exit from freezing

Just as a tree in the presence of cold and ice allows the distal branches to dry, protecting the stem and the roots to continue living, the same is the human organism that manages difficulties by separating the parts through forms of dissociation of different intensity. We have already spoken of the existence between the autonomous reflexes of defense generated by the state of fear, of so-called tonic immobility.

It is only the joint immobility inextricably and simultaneously with intense fear that gives rise to the rupture of that blocked traumatic feedback circuit that takes the form of persistent post-traumatic stress disorder. And the keystone for the resolution of trauma and its main residual symptoms is to be able to separate fear from stillness.23

The person can have great difficulty in this if not accompanied by a professional expert of the organic processes of resilience that is able to read the language of the body and understand its meanings.

Coming out of the state of freezing-dissociation fixed by bodily memories and reconnecting to the sensations of the body in the present one comes into contact with one’s own high underlying activation. You could feel the cold of some areas of the body that then changes in general in the form of discomfort, chills, tingling, pungent pains, internal tremors and autonomous movements of the muscles.

The experience of coming out of this state is constantly described as feeling the body in a more acute way, seeing things in a clearer way, such as brighter colors, greater visual acuity and a greater presence and awareness of the environment.24



If during pregnancy our mother or both parents have experienced strong fear, this could be recorded at a deep level by the system of the unborn child. This imprinting could lead to changes in the development of neural circuits and unconscious autonomic responses, giving shape, in some cases, to what is called a nervous system with high-intensity activations.

The organism, in an attempt to manage the intense global activation generated by the early trauma, renounces its unity in order to save itself.

Since conception, physiological cleavage is one of the primary protective mechanisms used to manage the overwhelming burden of invasive intrauterine threats such as surgical procedures, chemical toxicity or trauma experienced by the mother during pregnancy.

So when the trauma is precocious or severe, some individuals disconnect completely by numbing all the sensations and emotions. Disconnection from the bodily self, emotions and other people is traditionally called dissociation. For years now it has been a paradigm shift to think of dissociation as a bodily process, thus integrating physiology and psychology.

Avoiding the body is a defensive process that cannot be sustained for long, as its dysregulation ends up leading to symptoms that cannot be ignored.

People with early unresolved traumas disconnect from their body, their emotions and their healthy aggressiveness, precluding vivacity and vitality in a continuum of the dissociative process that goes from numbness, to splitting, to fragmentation.


Feet, eyes and facial expressions

Often these individuals do not have grounding, they energetically disconnect from contact with the ground. Their energy and self-awareness are eradicated from the earth, from the body and concentrated in the head. When these people are asked what they feel, they will tell you what they think.

The legs in these cases could be fatigued and little present or much more often extremely rigid and contracted generating in these people apparently unexplained articular problems without understanding its autonomous origin.

The trauma and in particular the early trauma also deeply affect the eyes. Hans Selye’s research has confirmed what Wilhelm Reich had guessed fifty years earlier, namely that under stress there is a narrowing of the visual field and other changes in vision.

With what is termed tunnel vision it is as if the person were blocked by fear towards a narrow field of attention in which he expects to meet the threat he has internalized on the unconscious level. In these cases it is possible to have a strong contraction of the ocular segment which is part of a wider dynamic of tension and immobilization of the face, neck and shoulders, all elements of an incomplete defensive orientation response.

Facial expressions denoting fright, hypervigilant attitudes, gestures and strongly contracted postures communicate to our brain in a direct way, stimulating the brain regions that process emotions and those that mainly prepare us for action.25 For this reason people with high levels of fear not yet elaborated can encounter relational difficulties and attract to themselves special people but not always adapted to their complexity.


Neuroaffective development and evolutionary traumas

Parents who grew up in wartime periods and educated through punitive coercive methods may have inherited high states of dissociation or incapacity to self-regulate their emotions.

When children do not receive the attention, the physical contact, nourishment and love they need can grow, continuing to look for them and fear them at the same time. If their needs are not met, children do not learn to recognize them, they cannot express them and often feel they do not deserve to be satisfied.

In mammals, attachment is the natural thrust that leads puppies to approach adults and adults to take care of them. In our species the relationship child – caregivers is today considered one of the most important dynamics, on which the basis of human existence is based, modulating the development of the first neural circuits on which the organism and the personality of the individual will be structured.

But a child has no choice, without the relationship of care that can come from adults would not be able to stay alive; at this early stage of our journey on Earth we are completely dependent and powerless.

The other essential need of the human being is authenticity, being ourselves, knowing who we are and what we feel. And this is another essential need for our survival because in the long millennia of evolution of our species, living in nature in contact with every kind of danger, feeling the body and perceiving the environment clearly was an imperative of survival.

This is why authenticity is just as important as attachment26 But what happens in the first years of life when authenticity threatens attachment? The child represses his emotions for fear of losing the relationship with adults. A pure adaptation that internalized and lived unconsciously for years leads to losing the ability to be in connection with ourselves and with others. Being able to remain in deep contact with our emotions is the indispensable condition for a healthy and vital existence.27


Individual and society

…Biology fortunately is not our last destiny.

What impact may have had on the individual and therefore on the well-being of the community, a family and a school in which we were educated in the old punitive coercive mode and in which we have often not been sustained in discovering our creativity and our real talents but have imposed targets and objectives set and subjected to their judgment?

Many of us, perhaps most, have been raised in an atmosphere of pressure, tension and confrontation, where they have been judged and evaluated on the basis of performance and appearance rather than being. This type of conditioning is deeply rooted in the societies in which we grow up and it is unknowingly and automatically transmitted from one generation to the next. When we are raised in a context of this kind, we end up carrying a heavy load of fear and shame in the head and body. The sense of self is damaged and we lose our innate sense of trust and openness.28

When fear is denied and unrecognized, it is thrown into the recesses of consciousness, from where it exerts a powerful and often disabling influence on our lives. Despite attempts to hide it with any kind of compensation and addiction, as long as it remains a hidden force it can cause chronic anxiety, sabotage our creativity and make us stiff, suspicious and obsessed with certainties or lead us to provisions of subjugation alternating with dominance.

In this way, however, man can become the main threat for himself and his fellow men.


Just a big business?

In this sense, over the centuries we can easily observe the widening of the spiral of violence and impotence generated by the use of fear to educate and govern peoples.

The development of today’s security obsessions undoubtedly stems from the awareness of the effect of fear on individuals.

These, if subjected to a continuous media bombardment of events of crime, natural wars and disasters, will quickly lose confidence in themselves and in life, delegating their personal power in favor of protection from structures and organizations considered competent.

Apparently, however, today despite the presence of new laws often even harmful to privacy and inclined to limit personal freedom, the vast and burdensome state and private security equipment represented by the police, the countless prison facilities or the various detention measures and domiciliary in place in the various countries, the installation of endless cameras to monitor everywhere, compulsive anxiety to see everywhere danger and film everything with the new smartphone models, the presence of the military scattered in strategic places in many cities, they are not enough to alleviate this need for protection that has become so deep.

Fear of judgment or punishment seems to fail completely to soothe the impulses of predation and survival in our species.


Polyvagal theory, social involvement and interrelation

Because the multitudes, in any case, are made up of individuals, let’s come back to see together how one of the natural mechanisms developed in us for thousands of years to manage fear works.

Since the 1990s, the studies of the neuroscientist Stephen Porges, deepening the functions of the vagus nerve in the context of autonomic responses to environmental and relational stimuli, have shed light on the relationships between physiology and behavior.

In the presence of a real or perceived threat from our body, the nervous system quickly processes the information available to dispose itself to a self-preservation reaction.

In short, the main ways of responding to a stimulus could be:

Blocking and closing      Vagus Dorsal Nerve

Fight or escape                Sympathetic System

Social engagement          Vagus Ventral Nerve

In a balanced situation resilient organisms could oscillate smoothly between these three types of physiological response in reaction to the intensity of the stimuli. But in societies unable to elaborate the transgenerational traumas of the past and based on the use of fear to educate and regulate interpersonal dynamics, some of these neurophysiological circuits could be more activated, generating strongly maladaptive behaviors in the community.

It is the ability to read the emotions, posture, movements and minds of others that allows us not to freeze or not to attack in response to the approach of another human being. It is the activity of the ventral vagina, whose innervations branch off to the height of our belly, which allow us to feel, viscerally, the empathic closeness of our neighbors and not live in a state of constant fear.

The development in humans of this branch of the nervous system, coordinated and integrated with the rest of the organism in millennia of evolution, is a quantum leap at the phylogenetic level that could naturally lead our species to empathic behaviors of solidarity and realization of the wonderful interrelationship inherent in existing.


Trust: open door to the wonder of the heart

To experience a real sense of security, we can meet fear together. The eyes, the smile, the hugs and the tone of the voice of those on our side stimulate the organism to gradually let go of the defense patterns, the muscular tensions, the protective armor we have unconsciously endowed with.

Trust that blossoms, flares up and matures in interpersonal relationships, leads to accepting our vulnerability, to soothe judgment against diversity and to arrive at the natural wonder of the heart …


Jerry Diamanti


1 Levine P., Somatic Experiencing. Esperienze somatiche nella risoluzione del trauma, Astrolabio, 2014

The word emotion originates from the Latin emovère – ex movere, the etymon suggests an impulse, a motion that crosses us, transits from us to the outside.

3 S.M. Rodrigues, J.E. LeDoux, R.M. Sapolsky, The influence of stress hormones on fear circuitry, Neuroscience 2009. 32:289–313

4 LaBar KS, LeDoux JE. Coping with danger: the neural basis of defensive behaviors and fearful feelings. In Handbook of Physiology, Section 7: The Endocrine System, Vol. IV: Coping with the Environment: Neural and Endocrine Mechanisms, ed. BS McEwen, pp. 139–54. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 2001.

5 McEwen BS. 2003. Mood disorders and allostatic load. Biol. Psychiatry 54:200–7. Sapolsky RM, Romero LM, Munck AU. How do glucocorticoids influence stress responses? Integrating permissive, suppressive, stimulatory, and preparative actions. Endocr. Rev. 21:55–89, 2000

Moskowitz, A.K., Sacerd stiff: Catatonia as an evolutionary – based fear response, Psychological Review 111, 2004.  Zohler, L.A., Translational challenge with tonic immobility”, Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 15, 2008

 Levine P., Somatic Experiencing. Esperienze somatiche nella risoluzione del trauma, Astrolabio, 2014

8  Van der Kolk B., Greenberg,M.,Boyd,H. Krystal,J., Inescapable shock, neurotransmitters and addiction to trauma, Biological Psychiatry, (1985)

9    Based on Hebb’s axiom, neurons that are excited at the same time will tend to be activated together later. (Hebb D.O., L’organizzazione del comportamento: una teoria neuropsicologica, F.Angeli, 1975). This evidence, supported by current research, was already intuited in 1888 by Freud who postulated a “law of association” that proposed the same phenomenon. (Freud S., Progetto di una psicologia, Opere vol.2, Boringhieri, 1967)

10 Carlson N.R., Physiology of behavior (9a ed), Pearson Education, 2007; van IJzendoorn, Caspers, Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., “Methylation matters: Interaction between methylation density and serotonin transporter genotype predicts unresolved loss or trauma”, Biological Psychiatry, 68,5 pp 405-407, 2010

11 Diamond DM, Campbell AM, Park CR, Halonen J, Zoladz PR. 2007. The temporal dynamics model of emozional memory processing: a synthesis on the neurobiological basis of stress-induced amnesia, flashbulb and traumatic memories, and the Yerkes-Dodson law. Neural Plast. 2007:1–33, Art. 60803

12 Levine P., Trauma e memoria. Una guida pratica per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Astrolabio, 2018

13 Bottaccioli F., Psiconeuroendocrinoimmunologia. I fondamenti scientifici delle relazioni mente-corpo. Le basi razionali della medicina integrata. Red!, 2005

14  Porges S.W., La teoria polivagale. Fondamenti neurofisiologici delle emozioni, dell’attaccamento, della comunicazione e dell’autoregolazione. Fioriti Ed., 2014

15 Levine P., Trauma e memoria. Una guida pratica per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Astrolabio, 2018

16 Siegel D.J., La mente relazionale. Neurobiologia dell’esperienza interpersonale, II ed., Ed. Cortina, 2017

17 Van der Kolk B., in prefazione di Levine P., Trauma e memoria. Una guida pratica per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Astrolabio, 2018

18 Choudhury S., Slaby J., Critical neuroscience: A handbook of the social and cultural context. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

19 Siegel D.J., La mente relazionale. Neurobiologia dell’esperienza interpersonale, II ed., Cortina Ed. 2017

20 Levine P., Trauma e memoria. Una guida pratica per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Astrolabio, 2018

21 Sortres-Bayon F., Bush D.E.  e Le Doux J.E., “Emotional preservation: un update on prefrontal-amigdala interactions in fear extintion”, Learning and Memory, 11, n.5

22 Van der KolK B., in prefazione di Trauma e memoria. Una guida pratica per capire ed elaborare i ricordi traumatici. Astrolabio, 2018

23 Heller L., La Pierre A., Guarire i traumi dell’età evolutiva. L’influenza del trauma precoce sull’autoregolazione, l’immagine del sé e la capacità di relazione. 2018

24 ibid.

25 De Gelder B., Emotions and the body, Oup USA 2016

26 Maté G., When The Body Says No: Mind/Body Unity and the Stress- Disease Connection, Original Video Published on scienceandnonduality Youtube Channel, The need for authenticity,

27 Heller L., La Pierre A., Guarire i traumi dell’età evolutiva. L’influenza del trauma precoce sull’autoregolazione, l’immagine di sé e la capacità di relazione, Astrolabio, 2018.

28 Krishnananda, Amana, A tu per tu con la paura. Vincere le proprie paure per imparare ad amare, Feltrinelli, 2009