Document Detail

Fear generalization in humans: Impact of prior non-fearful experiences.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20817133     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Fear generalization lies at the heart of many anxiety problems, and is therefore an important target for prevention and/or treatment. Here, we investigated whether fear generalization towards a specific stimulus can be weakened by prior non-fearful experiences with that stimulus. Using the standard human fear conditioning procedure, all participants received paired presentations of a geometric figure and an electric shock. This was followed by a test phase in which a similar but different figure was presented. Electrodermal responding and ratings of shock-expectancy measured the level of fear generalization towards this test stimulus. Crucially, half of the participants had been preexposed to that stimulus (without shock). The results show significantly less generalization in this group, suggesting that prior non-fearful experiences can protect against fear generalization. These results may inspire novel ways to prevent the development of clinical anxiety.
Bram Vervliet; Merel Kindt; Debora Vansteenwegen; Dirk Hermans
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-07-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Behaviour research and therapy     Volume:  48     ISSN:  1873-622X     ISO Abbreviation:  Behav Res Ther     Publication Date:  2010 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-18     Completed Date:  2011-01-31     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372477     Medline TA:  Behav Res Ther     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1078-84     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Conditioning, Classical*
Extinction, Psychological
Fear / psychology*
Generalization (Psychology)*
Photic Stimulation

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