Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts
The nature of terror. The Evolution of Trauma - the nature of Terror

Dr Raj Persaud in Conversation with Dr Chris Cantor - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Evolutionary Perspectives


Cantor and Price argue in their study entitled, ‘Traumatic entrapment, appeasement and complex post-traumatic stress disorder: evolutionary perspectives of hostage reactions, domestic abuse and the Stockholm syndrome’ that we switch into appeasement as a survival mechanism when held in captivity. They suggest that this basic response may be hardwired into our brains and therefore could possibly be even beyond our control, so victims should not be condemned for exhibiting this response.

Appeasement comprises pacification, conciliation and submission. Appeasement serves a de-escalating function in dangerous situations, subordinates using appeasement suspend efforts to win conflicts, thereby decreasing the often fatal costs of losing.

After being attacked, monkeys and apes tend to turn to the attacker for comfort and safety, which is referred to as ‘reverted escape’, because after fleeing from the attack the attacked animal returns, or reverts, to the attacker, rather than turning to another member of the group for succour. Appeasement appears widespread in the animal kingdom – for example dogs submit by rolling on their backs like puppies.

Submission is so widespread as a strategy that it probably promotes survival, so the transmission of genes for appeasement now makes evolutionary sense.

For an article on this subject go here:

Traumatic Entrapment and the link with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Explained