NATURE AND NURTUREThe Science of Newcomer Anxiety
In this chapter we will explore why new situations often make us nervous and uncomfortable. In particular, we’ll examine:
• How humans evolved to be anxious around strangers
• How children learn to fear and avoid unfamiliar people
• Why these anxieties are often counterproductive in today’s world, where interacting with strangers is commonplace and rarely dangerous
Ultimately, my goal in this chapter is to convince you that being a little anxious in new situations is normal and helpful (in future chapters we’ll figure out what to do about excessive anxiety.)
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: OUR EXPERIENCE VERSUS OUR FEAR OF THE NEW
We spend our entire lives being new. Every time we change jobs, move ...