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„[…] A similar winking movement is caused when a blow is directed towards the face; but this is an habitual and not a strictly reflex action, as the stimulus is conveyed through the mind and not by the excitement of a peripheral nerve. The whole body and head are generally at the same time drawn suddenly backwards. These latter movements, however, can be prevented, if the danger does not appear to the imagination imminent; but our reason telling us that there is no danger does not suffice. I may mention a trifling fact, illustrating this point, and which at the time amused me. I put my face close to the thick glass-plate in front of a puff-adder in the Zoological Gardens, with the firm determination of not starting back if the snake struck at me; but, as soon as the blow was struck, my resolution went for nothing, and I jumped a yard or two backwards with astonishing rapidity. My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.

The violence of a start seems to depend partly on the vividness of the imagination, and partly on the condition, either habitual or temporary, of the nervous system. […]

From the foregoing remarks it seems probable that some actions, which were at first performed consciously, have become through habit and association converted into reflex actions, and are now so firmly fixed and inherited, that they are performed, even when not of the least use, as often as the same causes arise, which originally excited them in us through the volition. In such cases the sensory nerve-cells excite the motor cells, without first communicating with those cells on which our consciousness and volition depend. “ (Darwin 1872)

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Dr. rer. nat. Claudia Berger, Heilpraktikerin für Psychotherapie – Psychotherapie, Psychosoziale Beratung, Psychologische Beratung und Kunsttherapie in Garbsen (Region Hannover), Praxis und Atelier im Gesundheitszentrum Garbsen, Kontaktformular