For organisms limited to a fixed point in space, protective responses are based largely on sensing vibration or sudden changes in light. The point archetypical response to a sensed threat is a contraction. We usually label this protective response as freeze, which we experience as either a locking of our physiology or as panic (ARMOR). The most sensitive means to sense low-frequency vibration or shifts in air pressure due to some movement are hairs (cat whiskers are an excellent example). Humans still have a direct neurological connection to and from our hair follicles to the deepest layers of our core neurophysiology (Enteric Nervous System). If you have experienced your hair standing on end when frightened, you have experienced this neurophysiological response both perceiving a threat and priming to become more sensitive (a notable quality of this response is its immediacy – it unfolds much more quickly than our conscious awareness can track). This connection between our skin and our core neurophysiology is why tactile protocols often can help us to down-regulate our protective responses effectively aiding in the treatment of a post-traumatic stress response.
/Paper on dynamics of pain
DRIVE: [FREEZE] The Startle or Freeze response has a motor component. Think of a Snail contracting into its shell or us curling up into a ball. Some form of this mechanism is an attribute of all Animals. It is a physical contraction of the Locomotive Core (consider a snail). In our neurophysiology, this is associated with our Parasympathetic Nervous System and Tactile Sensitivity or sensitivity to low-frequency vibration at the boundary of the organism (Cat Whiskers are a good example of tactile hypersensitivity in hair follicles). It is an extremely ancient response of animals to the perception of threat which does not employ the Adaptive Capacity mechanism described above – all threat is evaluated equally.
PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM
ALL LIVING THINGS
Contraction/Freeze is one layer of many that describe the evolutionary progression of protective responses. There is a discussion of this progression here:
MEANS AND METHODS
An overview of protective mechanisms as expressed in our species:
An overview of the archetypes for which protection serves as a special case:
An overview of all of the models dissecting the human experience presented on this website: