Article

Extinction in human fear conditioning.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.25). 09/2006; 60(4):361-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.10.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although most extinction research is conducted in animal laboratories, the study of extinction learning in human fear conditioning has gained increasing attention over the last decade. The most important findings from human fear extinction are reviewed in this article. Specifically, we review experimental investigations of the impact of conditioned inhibitors, conditioned exciters, context renewal, and reinstatement on fear extinction in human samples. We discuss data from laboratory studies of the extinction of aversively conditioned stimuli, as well as results from experimental clinical work with fearful or anxious individuals. We present directions for future research, in particular the need for further investigation of differences between animal and human conditioning outcomes, and research examining the role of both automatic and higher-order cognitive processes in human conditioning and extinction.

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    • "After conditioning, the CS comes to elicit conditioned fear responses ( " CRs " ), such as freezing behavior in rats (Bolles 1970; Fanselow 1980, 1994; Sigmundi et al. 1980; Hagenaars et al. 2014). After repeated presentations of the CS alone, the magnitude and frequency of the CR is diminished, a process termed extinction (Pavlov 1927; Konorski 1948; Lolordo and Rescorla 1966; Rescorla 2001; Bouton 2004; Hermans et al. 2006; Chang et al. 2009; Fitzgerald et al. 2014; also see Jones et al. 2013). Standard extinction procedures do not erase the original fear memory; rather extinction represents a new form of learning that inhibits conditioned responding to the aversive CS (Konorski 1967; Bouton 1993; Falls 1998; Maren 2011; also see Myers et al. 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aversive events can trigger relapse of extinguished fear memories, presenting a major challenge to the long-term efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Here, we examined factors regulating the relapse of extinguished fear after exposure of rats to a dangerous context. Rats received unsignaled shock in a distinct context ("dangerous" context) 24 h prior to auditory fear conditioning in another context. Fear to the auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) was subsequently extinguished either in the conditioning context ("ambiguous" context) or in a third novel context ("safe" context). Exposure to the dangerous context 30 min before a CS retention test caused relapse to the CS in the ambiguous and safe test contexts relative to nonextinguished controls. When rats were tested 24 h later (with or without short-term testing), rats tested in the ambiguous context continued to exhibit relapse, whereas rats tested in the safe context did not. Additionally, exposure of rats to the conditioning context-in place of the unsignaled shock context-did not result in relapse of fear to the CS in the safe testing context. Our work highlights the vulnerabilities of extinction recall to interference, and demonstrates the importance of context associations in the relapse of fear after extinction. © 2015 Goode et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
    Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 03/2015; 22(3):170-8. DOI:10.1101/lm.037028.114 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    • "many times without the aversive footshock . Context fear associated with the US can also be extinguished by placing the subject in the conditioned context in the absence of any aversive US ( refer to Maren et al . 2013 ) . As a result , animals learn that the CS ( or context ) no longer predicts the aversive US ( Bouton 2004 ; Chang et al . 2009 ; Hermans et al . 2006 ; Lolordo and Rescorla 1966 ; Pavlov 1927 ) , thereby reducing conditioned fear . Extinction has been shown to engage distinct neural circuits that act on and interact with the neural circuits involved in conditioning ( Courtin et al . 2014 ; Herry et al . 2010 ; Maren 2011 ; Milad et al . 2006b ; Myers and Davis 2002 ; Orsini et al . 2"
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    ABSTRACT: Whereas fear memories are rapidly acquired and enduring over time, extinction memories are slow to form and are susceptible to disruption. Consequently, behavioral therapies that involve extinction learning (e.g., exposure therapy) often produce only temporary suppression of fear and anxiety. This review focuses on the factors that are known to influence the relapse of extinguished fear. Several phenomena associated with the return of fear after extinction are discussed, including renewal, spontaneous recovery, reacquisition, and reinstatement. Additionally, this review describes recent work, which has focused on the role of psychological stress in the relapse of extinguished fear. Recent developments in behavioral and pharmacological research are examined in light of treatment of pathological fear in humans.
    ILAR journal / National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources 09/2014; 55(2):246-258. DOI:10.1093/ilar/ilu008 · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    • "[5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] "
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress (PTSD), panic, and phobic disorders, can be conceptualized as a failure to inhibit inappropriate fear responses. A common, effective treatment strategy involves repeated presentations to the feared cue without any danger (extinction). However, extinction learning has a number of important limitations, and enhancing its effects, generalizability and durability via cognitive enhancers may improve its therapeutic impact. In this review we focus specifically on the role of the cannabinoid system in fear extinction learning and its retention. We address the following questions: What are the neural circuits mediating fear extinction?; Can we make fear extinction more effective?; Can cannabinoids facilitate fear extinction in humans?; How might the cannabinoid system effect fear extinction? Collectively, translational evidence suggest that enhancing cannabinoid transmission may facilitate extinction learning and its recall, and that the cannabinoid system is a potential pharmacological target for improving the active learning that occurs during exposure-based behavioral treatments prompting future research in terms of mechanisms research, novel treatment approaches (cognitive enhancers), and pharmacotherapeutic drug discovery.
    Current pharmaceutical design 06/2013; 20(13). DOI:10.2174/13816128113199990437 · 3.29 Impact Factor
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