Extinction in human fear conditioning.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 9.47). 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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