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At yesterday’s meeting on tranquility, during the discussion portion, one person mentioned that scientific research using MRI had shown that most people’s first thoughts about new stimuli were suspicion and fear. I didn’t respond to that idea, because I didn’t have any information on the subject. However, I was thinking that it was probably true because the background religion of the majority of people has fear-driven stories based on punishment for being in some outside social group. A second idea for why people fear novelty is based on the fact that most Americans have poor Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test scores, and few have Positive Childhood Experiences (PCE). If a person’s life experience is that even things known from experience are painful, then an unknown new experience must be even worse, and that would be horrible.

From Wikipedia ACE test — “About 67% of individuals reported at least one of the following Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE); and 87% of individuals who reported one ACE reported at least one additional ACE.[6] The prevalence of emotional abuse was 10.6%, physical abuse 28.3%, sexual abuse 20.7%, emotional neglect 14.8%, physical neglect 9.9%, mother treated violently 12.7%, household substance abuse 26.9%, household mental illness 19.4%, parental separation or divorce 23.3%, incarcerated household member 4.7%.”

I created a flip of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test scores, and named it Positive Childhood Experiences (PCE).

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE). Clickable image.

As mentioned in the Wikipedia quote above the chart, 67% have some poor childhood experiences and of those 87% had more than one category of bad experiences; thus the majority of people, some 57% have 2 or more categories of adverse childhood experiences. I suspected that is the reason the MRI tests mentioned in the first sentence of this post were accurate, and that is why

Most people’s first response to new stimuli is suspicion and fear.