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Fight/Flight Reaction

  1. Stanley Berent

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0356

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Berent, S. 2010. Fight/Flight Reaction. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Michigan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The fight-flight reaction can be observed across species and represents a critically important mechanism for survival, no less so in humans than in other living organisms. At the heart of this reaction is fear, which is an immediate response to perceived threat, and anxiety, which is a response similar to fear that can be thought of as anticipation of danger, or even anticipation of fear itself. Put another way, if fear is the sensation people experience with their first bee sting, then anxiety is the emotion they feel thereafter when hearing the buzz of a bumblebee.


  • anxiety;
  • fear;
  • stress;
  • fight;
  • flight