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Week 6 Group 2 Discussion Post
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Theodore Chernyl posted Feb 23, 2022 8:34 AM
Week 6 Group 2 Discussion Post

The amygdala is responsible for the neurological processes related to fear conditioning and fear extinction (Mattera et al., 2020). Fear conditioning and fear extinction are a learned response that are “involved in human pathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and dependencies” (Mattera et al., 2020, para. 1). Fear is a response to a threatening stimulus that can result from cued and contextual threats. Cued fear conditioning relies on the neurological processes of the amygdala and contextual fear conditioning relies on the hippocampus and the amygdala (Wotjak, 2018). Excessive fear can manifest into mental health issues such as anxiety and can inhibit daily functioning (Lommen et al., 2017).

Fear conditioning results when a “a neutral stimulus (CS) is repeatedly paired with an aversive unconditional stimulus (US), leading to a conditioned response (CR). The neutral stimulus consequently becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS+), eliciting a fearful response even without the US presentation. Following acquisition, the second phase, fear extinction, takes place whereby the CS+ is repeatedly presented in the absence of the US” (Dvir et al., 2019, para. 3). It is believed that this is a critical element in the development of anxiety disorders (Lommen et al., 2017). Fear extinction is a reduction of learned fear by repetitive exposure to the fearful stimulus. The process of fear extinction is not intended to make an individual forget their fear but is intended to reteach the individual and to override memories associated with a fearful stimulus (Luchkina & Bolshakov, 2018). Cognitive behavioral therapy uses an exposure-based approach to reduce the fear response in patients with anxiety disorders (Heinig et al., 2017).


Dvir, M., Horovitz, O., Aderka, I. M., & Shechner, T. (2019). Fear conditioning and extinction in anxious and non-anxious youth: A meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 120, 103431. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2019.103431

Heinig, I., Pittig, A., Richter, J., Hummel, K., Alt, I., Dickhöver, K., Gamer, J., Hollandt, M., Koelkebeck, K., Maenz, A., Tennie, S., Totzeck, C., Yang, Y., Arolt, V., Deckert, J., Domschke, K., Fydrich, T., Hamm, A., Hoyer, J.,…Wittchen, H.-U. (2017). Optimizing exposure-based cbt for anxiety disorders via enhanced extinction: Design and methods of a multicentre randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 26(2), e1560. https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1560

Lommen, M. J., Duta, M., Vanbrabant, K., de Jong, R., Juechems, K., & Ehlers, A. (2017). Training discrimination diminishes maladaptive avoidance of innocuous stimuli in a fear conditioning paradigm. PLOS ONE, 12(10), e0184485. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184485

Luchkina, N. V., & Bolshakov, V. Y. (2018). Mechanisms of fear learning and extinction: Synaptic plasticity–fear memory connection. Psychopharmacology, 236(1), 163–182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-5104-4

Mattera, A., Pagani, M., & Baldassarre, G. (2020). A computational model integrating multiple phenomena on cued fear conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 14. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2020.569108

Wotjak, C. T. (2018). Sound check, stage design and screen plot – how to increase the comparability of fear conditioning and fear extinction experiments. Psychopharmacology, 236(1), 33–48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-5111-5




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