In most tales of the stress response it is suggested that there is a binary choice of fight or flight. However, there is a third response: freeze. A recent study using mice found that serotonin plays an interesting role in this fight, flight or freeze (FFF) response (Seo et al. 2019).
What the study found was that in mice (and probably in humans) serotonin neurons flip depending on the level of a potential threat. Specifically they looked at a hub of serotonin neurons called the dorsal raphe nucleus. In high-threat situations, stimulation of these neurons results in flight. On the other hand, in lower threat situations, a ‘switch’ is thrown and the exact same neurons cause a freeze response.
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