The Psychology of Fear of The Dark

2 minutes

Fear of the dark is one of the primitive instincts of human behaviour. Our ancestors who led their lives in forests knew how some animals attack their preys and as we’re not on the top of the food chain their fear is reasonable. 


With evolution and development in living conditions, we should have been able to outgrow that fear,  right? Maybe. The psychology of our fear of darkness is not necessarily of the predators. Darkness means the inability to see what’s happening in our surroundings and that makes us more nervous.

The unpreparedness caused by darkness makes us anxious and this anxiety hinders our ability to act logically. For example, the creaking of our doors or windows are often ignored during the day but during the night, the same sound drives us crazy. This is because of the anxiety that kicks in due to fear.


In addition, to our primitive fear of darkness the feedback we receive from our society also makes  us more frightened. Most of the crimes in the modern world are committed after sunset. As we hear/study about the crimes and acts of violence happening at night our minds become more scared of the dark. This is the reason still most of us are a bit afraid of the dark. This fear of darkness is more prevalent in children than in adults.  

Children between the age of 4-9 are the most afraid and it decreases with the increase in age. Though children don’t know that something might cause them harm they learn from their adults. The apprehension adults express when children go near something unknown confirms their fear and thus, they also develop the fear of the unknown which strengthens the fear of the dark. This is not at all a bad thing but a beautiful defense mechanism our brain provided us with.

Fear of the Dark

Fear of dark as a defense mechanism is okay but if it extends and affects our health causing insomnia we should not overlook it. Consulting a therapist would be a good idea if one can’t overcome it easily.

Vamshi Krishna

An engineer by qualification and voracious reader, Vamshi Krishna wants to make an impact on our education system by bringing positive change in the students. He is technology savvy and also interested in human psychology. Through Your DOST he wants to make his opinion count.