Jul 29, 2020

Extinction learning alters the neural representation of conditioned fear

Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
John L GranerKevin S LaBar


Extinction learning is a primary means by which conditioned associations to threats are controlled and is a model system for emotion dysregulation in anxiety disorders. Recent work has called for new approaches to track extinction-related changes in conditioned stimulus (CS) representations. We applied a multivariate analysis to previously -collected functional magnetic resonance imaging data on extinction learning, in which healthy young adult participants (N = 43; 21 males, 22 females) encountered dynamic snake and spider CSs while passively navigating 3D virtual environments. We used representational similarity analysis to compare voxel-wise activation t-statistic maps for the shock-reinforced CS (CS+) from the late phase of fear acquisition to the early and late phases of extinction learning within subjects. These patterns became more dissimilar from early to late extinction in a priori regions of interest: subgenual and dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, amygdala and hippocampus. A whole-brain searchlight analysis revealed similar findings in the insula, mid-cingulate cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, somatosensory cortex, cerebellum, and visual cortex. High state anxiety attenuated extinction-related changes to the C...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Insula of Reil
Fear (Mental Process)
Cingulate Cortex
Visual Cortex
Conditioning, Classical

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