Ask McFartnuggets: “Why Do People Faint When They’re Scared?”

Fainting is just the
brain's way of saying
"Fuck this!"
Dear McFartnuggets: 
Why do people tend to faint when they see something really scary or disgusting like the sight of blood? Is there an evolutionary reason for this response? -- Theodore from Rhode Island

Dear Theodore:
What you’re referring to is vasovagal syncope. It’s when your nervous system malfunctions and causes heart rate and blood pressure to drop causing fainting sometimes in relation to stress, anxiety, or seeing medical procedures. It’s possible that it has an evolutionary purpose. Like playing possum, there are some benefits to fainting and lose consciousness. If you see a man with an axe murdering your family, you might very well faint which at the very least would cause you less pain because you would be murdered while unconscious. It’s not a great consolation prize, but really, would you rather be awake or asleep while someone was chopping your limbs off in a clown mask? That’s kind of a big benefit. So the next time you faint when you see someone using a needle just remember, that reflex could come back to help you some day. It probably won’t save you, but it will help.

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