R. Douglas Fields's new book is Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain. From the author's Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: In your book, you write that you were motivated to explore the topic of rage after being robbed in Barcelona. What about your experience in Barcelona epitomizes the phenomenon you study in the book?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I reacted aggressively to the robber by throwing him to the ground to get my wallet back within a fraction. Had I thought about it, I never would have done such a thing. You don't want to fight with a robber, but I didn't think. The reaction was automatic and instantaneous.
This was stunning to me. If something unexpected in our environment can cause you to risk your life and limb without any conscious control, I wanted to understand how that worked at the level of brain circuits and to learn to control it if possible.
I wanted to understand what triggered this response and whether I would always react the same way if caught unawares. I wondered if everyone would react this way to the same provocation. Would I have done this if my daughter was not with me? I snapped, but what does that mean from the level of brain function?
I was also stunned that I could do what I did. I don't have any martial arts training, military experience, or any experience in street fighting. I realized that...[read on]