Psychophysiological and subjective indicators of aversive pavlovian conditioning in generalized social phobia
ABSTRACT Aversive conditioning has been proposed as an important etiologic mechanism in social phobia; however, empirical evidence is scarce and has not relied on a detailed analysis of the acquisition and extinction of the conditioned emotional response. Fourteen men sustaining generalized social phobia and 19 healthy control subjects participated in differential aversive conditioning with two neutral faces as conditioned stimuli and an aversive odor as unconditioned stimulus. Subjective and peripheral physiological responses were obtained. Both groups were successfully conditioned as reflected by differential subjective (valence, arousal, subjective unconditioned stimulus expectancy) and peripheral physiological responses (skin conductance, startle response). There was no evidence for an enhanced conditionability in the social phobics; however, they showed an enhanced unconditioned stimulus expectancy, especially for the nonreinforced conditioned stimuli during acquisition, and a delayed extinction of the conditioned skin conductance response as well as a certain dissociation between subjective and physiological responses.The enhanced unconditioned stimulus expectancy during acquisition and the overall elevated subjective arousal suggest that, under threat, subjects with generalized social phobia may be more prone to associate neutral social cues and an aversive outcome. Furthermore, delayed extinction of the conditioned response seems to contribute to the etiology and maintenance of generalized social phobia.
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ABSTRACT: The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is thought to attenuate anxiety by dampening amygdala reactivity to threat in individuals with generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD). Because the brain is organized into networks of interconnected areas, it is likely that OXT impacts functional coupling between the amygdala and other socio-emotional areas of the brain. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to examine the effects of OXT on amygdala functional connectivity during the processing of fearful faces in GSAD subjects and healthy controls. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design, 18 healthy controls and 17 GSAD subjects performed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task designed to probe amygdala response to fearful faces following acute intranasal administration of placebo or OXT. Functional connectivity between the amygdala and the rest of the brain was compared between OXT and placebo sessions using generalized psychophysiological interaction (gPPI) analyses. Results indicated that within individuals with GSAD, but not healthy controls, OXT enhanced functional connectivity between the amygdala and the bilateral insula and middle cingulate/dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus during the processing of fearful faces. These findings suggest that OXT may have broad pro-social implications such as enhancing the integration and modulation of social responses.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 07 July 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.168.Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2014; 40(2). DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.168 · 8.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Basic conditioning research can delineate mechanisms of cognitive behavior therapy.•Cognitive reappraisal was applied during Pavlovian conditioning.•Reappraisal slowed acquisition and sped extinction of conditioned negative valence.•Reappraisal compensated for extinction deficit in participants with high social anxiety.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 03/2015; 46. DOI:10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.10.001 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of autonomic system reactivity and response on the speech production of people who stutter. Participants included three adults who stutter (AWS) and three who did not (AWNS). An aversive acoustic stimulus was paired with a set of neutral pictures to condition an autonomic system response as measured by skin conductance response (SCR). Speech production probes were placed in trials where a conditioned autonomic response was expected in order to record fundamental frequency (F0) and temporal acoustic measures of segments of speech from utterances at different levels of autonomic arousal. Analyses of SRC indicated that AWS had a significantly greater autonomic response to the aversive stimulus compared to AWNS. All of the AWS, but none of the AWNS, acquired a conditioned response. In addition, AWS exhibited F0, voice onset time, and frication durations that were positively correlated with SCR. This study provides evidence that AWS show a greater susceptibility to classical conditioning, along with higher autonomic reactivity and related changes in speech production than AWNS. Findings are discussed as they pertain to risk factors in the development of stuttering.09/2013; 16(3):176-185. DOI:10.1179/2050572813Y.0000000011