It’s widely believed that zombies don’t react defensively when attacked. If true, new findings out of Italy suggest that this odd behavior may have more to do with the undead’s hardwired strategy of coping with the threat they face, than their ability to feel the pain of physical damage.
Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have discovered a switch in the brain that controls fear, identifying the specific type of neurons that determine how animals react to frightening stimuli. When the switch is “up” a passive, fear-based response is triggered. When the switch is “down” aggression takes hold.
Study lead, Cornelius Gross, explains:
“It seemed that we were not blocking the fear, but just changing their responses from a passive to an active coping strategy.”
In the case of zombies, their complete lack of defense, even when experiencing severe bodily injury, could simply mean that their fear switch is locked in the down position. The larger the perceived threat, the more violent and aggressive they become.