The first thing I saw when I entered my dorm room at Sanford Hall last year was my roommate, we'll call him The Zellmenator. I was a bit taken aback because his eyes were glued to his computer screen, he barley acknowledged my presence. After a while this type of behavior didn't surprise me in the slightest, it did however create interesting reactions from friends that I brought to the room. Every time I brought someone new to the room i would introduce them to The Zellmenator and every time he could hardly bring himself to look away from his computer screen for one second to greet a new stranger. At times I found this amusing, at others I found it quite maddening.
At around eight months infants begin to display stranger anxiety a phenomenon where babies exhibit extreme fear and other negative reactions when met with a stranger. The funny thing is two months earlier the same baby would have been over joyed to meet a new person. Stranger anxiety might serve as an evolutionary defense mechanism because at eight months infants begin to learn to crawl on their own, and maybe get into trouble. This anxiety might help to protect them from dangers like unknown adults. Behavior like this gets worse until 12 to 15 months of age and declines as life goes on.
So my question is why would a seemingly fully developed college freshman show such strong signs of stranger anxiety? I'm sure the Zellmenator had meeting strangers his whole life and I would think that he'd be able to realize there is nothing to fear, because after all according to the research he should have lost this fear years ago. What could be an explanation for his fear of strangers at Sanford? Was it just the overwhelming rush of the socialization that happens during freshman year or is there a psychological explanation for his reactions to new people?
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