A discriminated conditioned punishment model of phobia

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Traditionally, the signaled avoidance (SA) paradigm has been used in an attempt to better understand human phobia. Animal models of this type have been criticized for ineffectively representing phobia. The SA model characterizes phobia as an avoidance behavior by presenting environmental cues, which act as warning signals to an aversive stimulus (ie, shock). Discriminated conditioned punishment (DCP) is an alternative paradigm that characterizes phobia as a choice behavior in which fear serves to punish an otherwise adaptive behavior. The present study quantifies the differences between the paradigms and suggests that DCP offers an alternative paradigm for phobia. Rats trained on either SA or DCP were compared on a number of behavioral variables relevant to human phobia. Results indicate that rats in the DCP paradigm responded significantly earlier to warning signals and were more effective at preventing shocks than rats in the SA paradigm. Implications of this alternative paradigm are discussed. © 2013 Bloom et al.




Bloom, C. M., Post, R. J., Mazick, J., Blumenthal, B., Doyle, C., Peters, B., … Davenport, D. G. (2013). A discriminated conditioned punishment model of phobia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 9, 1239–1248. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S49886

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