Something I never thought much of in relation to memory and learning is phobias, and I was intrigued when our text ushered in the topic in that context.
It's true that people aren't always afraid of thing with which they've had the most frequent or traumatic unpleasant experiences. I've had a deep seated emetophobia (fear of vomiting) since I was a child, but the first time I became ill in that way was when I was seventeen and had no traumatic encounters with the act previously.
The theory of preparedness and evolutionary predisposition to phobias is a great one, and makes me think of Carl Jung (what with the collective unconscious). But what about the unexplained character of many of them (sure, clowns aren't all that funny, but are they actually dangerous enough to warrant the dread they seem to invoke in many)? There are phobias out there that seem to function on a symbolic and psychodynamic level: when a literal threat is too terrible to face, the fear is cast off into a symbol. What parts of the brain work to achieve this displacement? It's certainly a survival mechanism of sorts, but would the displacement not interfere with learning about the actual, literally perceived danger?