The Smoke Detector Principle

  title={The Smoke Detector Principle},
  author={Randolph M. Nesse},
  journal={Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences},
  • R. Nesse
  • Published 1 May 2001
  • Computer Science
  • Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Abstract: Defenses, such as flight, cough, stress, and anxiety, should theoretically be expressed to a degree that is near the optimum needed to protect against a given threat. Many defenses seem, however, to be expressed too readily or too intensely. Furthermore, there are remarkably few untoward effects from using drugs to dampen defensive responses. A signal detection analysis of defense regulation can help to resolve this apparent paradox. When the cost of expressing an all‐or‐none defense… 

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