I'm similarly sad then, as this sort of thing interests me too! Physical reactions too I enjoy Krav Maga and a lot of the defence techniques are based on repetition, ergo muscle memory, so that your physical reaction to a situation comes as reflex. When things happen quickly, if you have to think about your response, then often it's too late and you're already in trouble.
However, going back to your original comment about conditioned responses; I always find it amazing how people follow others in a situation, just due to the peer pressure, for want of a better phrase, or plain ignore a rapidly escalating problem. Hence the reason that in women's self defence classes they're often taught to shout "fire!", rather than "help!", as the majority of us are, despite what we think, more likely to respond to the latter call of distress than the former.
I guess the majority of us are sheep!