You’re walking home alone on a quiet street. You hear footsteps approaching quickly from behind. It’s nighttime. Your senses scramble to help your brain figure out what to do. You listen for signs of threat or glance backward. What you learn may prompt you to turn down another street, confront the person, or relax. Whether he or she turns out to be a mugger or a jogger, your brain rapidly cycled through many scenarios seeking an answer.
Here’s the rub: Our senses aren’t attuned to modern life