Heightened fearfulness in infants is not adaptive

Marissa Ogren, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Katie Hoemann, Vanessa LoBue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Grossmann proposes the “fearful ape hypothesis,” suggesting that heightened fearfulness in early life is evolutionarily adaptive. We question this claim with evidence that (1) perceived fearfulness in children is associated with negative, not positive long-term outcomes; (2) caregivers are responsive to all affective behaviors, not just those perceived as fearful; and (3) caregiver responsiveness serves to reduce perceived fearfulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere73
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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