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Effects of verbal instructions and physical threat removal prior to extinction training on the return of conditioned fear

  • Instructions given prior to extinction training facilitate the extinction of conditioned skin conductance (SCRs) and fear-potentiated startle responses (FPSs) and serve as laboratory models for cognitive interventions implemented in exposure-based treatments of pathological anxiety. Here, we investigated how instructions given prior to extinction training, with or without the additional removal of the electrode used to deliver the unconditioned stimulus (US), affect the return of fear assessed 24 hours later. We replicated previous instruction effects on extinction and added that the additional removal of the US electrode slightly enhanced facilitating effects on the extinction of conditioned FPSs. In contrast, extinction instructions hardly affected the return of conditioned fear responses. These findings suggest that instruction effects observed during extinction training do not extent to tests of return of fear 24 hours later which serve as laboratory models of relapse and improvement stability of exposure-based treatments.

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Author details:Julia WendtORCiDGND, Miriam C. Hufenbach, Jörg König, Alfons O. HammORCiDGND
Title of parent work (English):Scientific Reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publishing:London
Publication type:Article
Date of first publication:2019/09/16
Completion year:2020
Release date:2020/02/24
Page number:14
Funding institution:Universität Potsdam
Funding number:PA 2020_003
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät
DDC classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften / 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 60 Technik / 600 Technik, Technologie
Peer review:Referiert
Grantor:Publikationsfonds der Universität Potsdam
Publishing method:Open Access
License (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
External remark:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 599