Generalization of human fear acquisition and extinction within a novel arbitrary stimulus category

44Citations
Citations of this article
82Readers
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

Abstract

Adaptive anxiety relies on a balance between the generalization of fear acquisition and fear extinction. Research on fear (extinction) generalization has focused mostly on perceptual similarity, thereby ignoring the importance of conceptual stimulus relations in humans. The present study used a laboratory procedure to create de novo conceptual categories of arbitrary stimuli and investigated fear and extinction generalization among these stimuli. A matching-to-sample task produced two four-member categories of abstract figures. Next, a member from one category was coupled with an aversive electrical stimulation, while a member from the other category was presented alone. As expected, conditioned fear responses generalized to the other members of the first category (skin conductance and online shock-expectancy). Subsequent extinction of the conditioned member also generalized to the other members. However, extinguishing a non-conditioned member failed to reduce fear of the conditioned member itself. We conclude that fears generalize readily across conceptually related stimuli, but that the degree of extinction generalization depends on the stimulus subjected to extinction. © 2014 Vervoort et al.

Cite

CITATION STYLE

APA

Vervoort, E., Vervliet, B., Bennett, M., & Baeyens, F. (2014). Generalization of human fear acquisition and extinction within a novel arbitrary stimulus category. PLoS ONE, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0096569

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free