Alex Honnold discusses fear with psychology researcher Armita Golkar – Nobel Week Dialogue 2019

“To fear or not to fear?” Alex Honnold and Armita Golkar discuss fear, risk, rock climbing and psychology in this discussion moderated by Carin Klaesson, curator at Nobel Media.

Alex Honnold is a professional rock climber whose audacious free-solo ascents of America’s biggest cliffs have made him one of the most recognised and followed climbers in the world.

Armita Golkar is a psychology researcher and associate senior lecturer at Stockholm University and an affiliated researcher at Karolinska Institutet where she studies emotional learning and memory.

The Nobel Week Dialogue is an annual science conference on 9 December in Nobel Week. The goal of the event is to bring together a select group of the world’s leading scientists, policy-makers and thinkers for a series of thought-provoking sessions and working groups on a topical science-related theme. With this event the Nobel Institutions aim to deepen the dialogue between the scientific community and the rest of society on issues connected with the Nobel Prize and of importance for the world.

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Some Toughts (44)

  1. Avatar
    added on 17 Mar, 2020

    Please don’t fool Alex, let him do what he wants to, without scrutinizing his mind, he might get the complex he has something broken in his brain..

  2. Avatar
    added on 17 Mar, 2020

    Fear is that which not happening. Yet people spend enormous amounts of time worrying about. What could happen..As they have a false idea their in control. The only control people have is the choices they make in life..Why these people think about all the things that can happen. Then figure out how to avoid them..They take all that into account. But the hardest one to control. Is fear of Death.
    And to be honest. There is a natural high from risk..Your brain releases Dopamine. And it is addictive like cocaine..

  3. Avatar
    added on 17 Mar, 2020

    What a wonderful idea for a public educational event. I applaud the Nobel Prize organization for this clever programming idea.

  4. Avatar
    added on 18 Mar, 2020

    The lady next to Alex is very very intellectual at speaking getting you trapped in listening

  5. Avatar
    added on 19 Mar, 2020

    Alex is a such great ambassador for the sport of climbing – maybe even in the same class as Reinhold Messner, Chris Bonnington and Walter Bonattii. It will be interesting to see if he becomes tempted to venture into the high mountains and what doors he might open if he does.

  6. Avatar
    added on 21 Mar, 2020

    At some point you have to just experience it in order to learn more about fear, something they both can agree on but how you handle it is something general science and expert “experiencers” will disagree on always. Great discussion.

  7. Avatar
    added on 21 Mar, 2020

    Why don't they have that rich talking woman to clime that mountain without a rope and show everyone how she responds to fear

  8. Avatar
    added on 25 Mar, 2020

    ill say it…..Alex is looking a bit older here….definitely still cute as a button tho

  9. Avatar
    added on 26 Mar, 2020

    That woman is a blabbering….something

  10. Avatar
    added on 28 Mar, 2020

    Dude is a true stoic, visualizing death. Even visualizing the good feelings is good, because in the moment, you don't want any feelings, you want to be 100% focused and in flow. As a freediver, I can totally relate and this is very inspiring.

  11. Avatar
    added on 28 Mar, 2020

    Oh my gosh… made it to 17.21… and they are still NOT progressing.. I´m out.. time wasted..

  12. Avatar
    added on 30 Mar, 2020

    There's two people in the title but three people onstage. Too much talky from people not named Alex Honnold. No bueno!

  13. Avatar
    added on 5 Apr, 2020

    You can see very clear the difference between the two: first the climber, with the direct experience of fear in his body (he can almost transfer that to the audience with his words) and then the psychologist, with all the technicism and theory about fear, whos words are emotionally empty, and also doesn't seem that she has experience real fear of death at all. Very interesting, thanks for the upload

  14. Avatar
    added on 10 Apr, 2020

    he wears climbing shoes? Probably the only type of shoes he has;)

  15. Avatar
    added on 11 Apr, 2020

    I need chalk just to hold my phone watching this,,,my hands sweating so much.

  16. Avatar
    added on 13 Apr, 2020

    Wrong Armita any babies would feel fear of falling and big noise.. I think her specialty doesn't make her right on everything she speaks about…

  17. Avatar
    added on 16 Apr, 2020

    agree with alex, shift fear to excirement otherwise you can paralyse

  18. Avatar
    added on 24 Apr, 2020

    I think the word "instinct" is overused for explaining mechanics we don't fully understand or know yet. Animals are trained from experiences early on, just as we are. If you raise a rat with a cat as they're young, they will have high-er inclination to develop comfort and or confidence around each other. It's not equal to divide humans and non-humans like that. We all learn from an early age what to fear, because we haven't had experiences that give us a sense of disarmament. The psychologist was a bit rude to assert, just because she's saying it publicly, that must mean she knows what she's talking about. I think Alex and the audience were, sadly, misinformed. Get rid of the optimism and species bias, please. Trying not to hope or believe and accepting uncertainty is the strongest way to make yourself just be effective at being you. Ego insecurities feed the chase for pride. Peace.

  19. Avatar
    added on 24 Apr, 2020

    I think passion overcome fears. There is risk, but your passion is so huge that you want to take that risk.

  20. Avatar
    added on 25 Apr, 2020

    Alex climbs mountain:
    I have control of my body climbing a mountain.

    Alex goes for drive:
    I have no control of this mountain of cars.

  21. Avatar

    Why I am = to Alex Honnold:
    1. Humans are born with just 2 fears: falling and loud noises
    2. Honnold free soloed El Cap, proving that he conquered the fear of falling
    3. I play drums in my house sometimes and it doesn't scare me at all

  22. Avatar
    added on 3 May, 2020

    A naturally cool guy cos he just doesn't get the fuss

  23. Avatar
    added on 4 May, 2020

    "The scholar is killing nature while trying to understand it. The genius is adding to nature a new piece of nature. (Nietzsche)
    Now – can you spot and separate between the scholar and the genius…

  24. Avatar
    added on 4 May, 2020

    He's attained mastery, no question. but, don't fall into the trap of thinking it's training alone. The guy is a almost the embodiment of an outlier, hes naturally fearless, and also seems to have a whole range of traits associated with Asperger's while also being extremely athletic. Those factors alone are extremely rare.

  25. Avatar
    added on 7 May, 2020

    Alex Honnold is to me one of the most ground to earth guy in this world that I personally admire, as an athlete and as a human being, just pure class!

  26. Avatar
    added on 8 May, 2020

    Let’s just say it. Alex is a genius. I’ve watched a lot of interviews with him and he clearly is a high-level thinker and could probably have mastered anything he wanted in life.. He happened to choose rockclimbing. I do believe that there are a handful of people on this planet that are capable of that level of thinking and Alex should be applauded.

  27. Avatar
    added on 16 May, 2020

    Her effort to seem convincing is fear in desguise!

  28. Avatar
    added on 17 May, 2020

    In order to reduce risk 'build a broad comfort zone', says Alex. This is profound. It is not enough simply to master the skills involved in what you intend to do. Just climbing El Cap with ropes however many times (Alex made multiple reconnaissances) would not have enabled him to free-solo El Cap. A varied training regime, a variety of climbing experiences, a variety of life experiences, a variety of modes of thinking over many years enabled him to tame El Cap in his own mind, thus reducing fear. It's a lesson in any field . . .

  29. Avatar
    added on 19 May, 2020

    Alex is amazing. But also something that is amazing is how they have analysed his brain in comparison to the average. His fear factor is so less.

  30. Avatar
    added on 21 May, 2020

    Fear is the lack of understanding !

  31. Avatar
    added on 3 Jun, 2020

    The enemy of fear is laughter. Try it.

  32. Avatar
    added on 8 Jun, 2020

    They should also involve isle of man riders in this too..

  33. Avatar
    added on 10 Jun, 2020

    He is an amazing human. An inspiration for all.

  34. Avatar
    added on 16 Jun, 2020

    Alex Honnold is too amazing to live on this planet.

  35. Avatar
    added on 6 Jul, 2020

    He resembles Ayrton Senna

  36. Avatar
    added on 9 Jul, 2020

    He is just so humble and mellow 🥺

  37. Avatar
    added on 17 Jul, 2020

    The interview would have been much better without the lady sitting in the middle with black hair.

  38. Avatar
    added on 18 Jul, 2020

    Bummer..I was hoping this was an expansion on the segment in Free Solo where they examined Alex's brain and saw that he had a very small fear-response to danger. I thought that was fascinating, whether it developed over time, or innate, and what that means from an evolutionary perspective.

  39. Avatar
    added on 25 Jul, 2020

    I am not really into talkshow so much especially those with 10 mins plus duration but I think this one is kinda fun to watch.

  40. Avatar
    added on 1 Aug, 2020

    "You know, I have no technical knowledge about fear except that I spend a lot of time being very afraid." – That made me laugh so hard 🙂

  41. Avatar
    added on 2 Aug, 2020

    He was in the Zone – a unique spiritual feat painstakingly performed humbly with concentration, fearlessness & detachment from all but the task. "The secret of self-mastery is self-forgetfulness." ~ Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Faith

  42. Avatar
    added on 15 Aug, 2020

    I admire Alex for his courage and modesty and values. It's inhuman all he can do ! But I fear for him because during a free solo climbing you're not able to manage everything ( a strong wind that starts suddenly, a tempest, the need to pee, a strong headache etc), a very unexpected or subtle detail can change all …

  43. Avatar
    added on 9 Sep, 2020

    I got a sense that he has way more knowledge and experience that her, and she was trying to keep up. Several times she reiterated exactly what he said. In my opinion, this is a good example of why experience in life wins out over book smarts.

  44. Avatar
    added on 18 Sep, 2020

    When he said he visualizes anxiety before it happens so he's prepared for it, is exactly how I got through highschool

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