Instructed extinction in human fear conditioning: History, recent developments, and future directions
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Instructed extinction is an experimental manipulation that involves informing participants after the acquisition of fear learning that the unconditional stimulus (US) will no longer be presented. It has been used as a laboratory analogue to assess the capacity of cognitive interventions to reduce experimentally induced fear. In this review, we examine and integrate research on instructed extinction and discuss its implications for clinical practice. Overall, the results suggest that instructed extinction reduces conditional fear responding and facilitates extinction learning, except when conditional stimulus valence is assessed as an index of fear or when fear is conditioned to images of animal fear-relevant stimuli (snakes and spiders) or with a very intense US. These exceptions highlight potential boundary conditions for the reliance on cognitive interventions when treating fear in clinical settings.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Luck, C. and Lipp, O. 2016. Instructed extinction in human fear conditioning: History, recent developments, and future directions. Australian Journal of Psychology. 68 (3): pp. 209-227, which has been published in final form at http://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12135. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving at http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms
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To remove or not to remove? Removal of the unconditional stimulus electrode does not mediate instructed extinction effectsLuck, Camilla; Lipp, Ottmar (2015)Following differential fear conditioning, the instruction that the unconditional stimulus will no longer be presented (instructed extinction) reduces differential electrodermal responding to CS+ and CS-, but does not ...
Mallan, K.; Sax, J.; Lipp, Ottmar (2009)Previous research has shown resistance to extinction of fear conditioned to racial out-group faces, suggesting that these stimuli may be subject to prepared fear learning. The current study replicated and extended previous ...
Rowles, M.; Lipp, Ottmar; Mallan, K. (2012)The present study investigated whether, like fear conditioned to pictures of snakes and spiders, fear conditioned to angry faces resists extinction even after verbal instruction and removal of the shock electrode. ...