Fight, flight, freeze, and fawn behaviour in animals

Fight, fight, or freeze?

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “fight or flight”. These words have become ingrained in our understanding of how animals tend to react when feeling stressed or unsafe. The instinctive reaction to either face an aggressor head-on or turn and run to escape conflict, and the biological processes which accompany these responses, are well-known and well-discussed in the animal kingdom. We may also talk about the “freeze” response, where animals remain motionless to avoid drawing attention from a threat. Together, these mechanisms form a repertoire of protective behaviours which aim to manage threat responses and enhance survival either as part of predator-prey dynamics or as part of managing their social groups within their species. However, another response occurs which is often overlooked - the "fawn" response.


What is the fawn response?

Better described in studies of human trauma responses, the fawn response...

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