Reaching out for others when there's danger might seem like a selfless act – but, according to scientists, we're actually just trying to save our own skin.
A study found grabbing hold of another person after a fright was about self-preservation rather than trying to save others.
The theory was tested on visitors to the Nightmares Fear factory fairground attraction in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Looking at 460 photos of visitors after a scare, researchers found three-quarters grabbed someone else, with women and children most likely to do so.
The University of Neuchatel in Switzerland concluded they were probably acting out of self-interest.
This is because they were less likely to return the grasp of someone who turned to them for help when in larger groups, meaning that the action was to protect themselves.
Co-author Julie Grezes, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, said: 'This happens potentially as a means to protect oneself. But it is an example of people using self-preservation rather than acting out of selfishness.'