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Vicarious learning and unlearning of fear in childhood via mother and stranger models.
Emotion. 2013 Oct; 13(5):974-80.E

Abstract

Evidence shows that anxiety runs in families. One reason may be that children are particularly susceptible to learning fear from their parents. The current study compared children's fear beliefs and avoidance preferences for animals following positive or fearful modeling by mothers and strangers in vicarious learning and unlearning procedures. Children aged 6 to 10 years (N = 60) were exposed to pictures of novel animals either alone (control) or together with pictures of their mother or a stranger expressing fear or happiness. During unlearning (counterconditioning), children saw each animal again with their mother or a stranger expressing the opposite facial expression. Following vicarious learning, children's fear beliefs increased for animals seen with scared faces and this effect was the same whether fear was modeled by mothers or strangers. Fear beliefs and avoidance preferences decreased following positive counterconditioning and increased following fear counterconditioning. Again, learning was the same whether the model was the child's mother or a stranger. These findings indicate that children in this age group can vicariously learn and unlearn fear-related cognitions from both strangers and mothers. This has implications for our understanding of fear acquisition and the development of early interventions to prevent and reverse childhood fears and phobias.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23795591

Citation

Dunne, Güler, and Chris Askew. "Vicarious Learning and Unlearning of Fear in Childhood Via Mother and Stranger Models." Emotion (Washington, D.C.), vol. 13, no. 5, 2013, pp. 974-80.
Dunne G, Askew C. Vicarious learning and unlearning of fear in childhood via mother and stranger models. Emotion. 2013;13(5):974-80.
Dunne, G., & Askew, C. (2013). Vicarious learning and unlearning of fear in childhood via mother and stranger models. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 13(5), 974-80. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032994
Dunne G, Askew C. Vicarious Learning and Unlearning of Fear in Childhood Via Mother and Stranger Models. Emotion. 2013;13(5):974-80. PubMed PMID: 23795591.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Vicarious learning and unlearning of fear in childhood via mother and stranger models. AU - Dunne,Güler, AU - Askew,Chris, Y1 - 2013/06/24/ PY - 2013/6/26/entrez PY - 2013/6/26/pubmed PY - 2014/8/19/medline SP - 974 EP - 80 JF - Emotion (Washington, D.C.) JO - Emotion VL - 13 IS - 5 N2 - Evidence shows that anxiety runs in families. One reason may be that children are particularly susceptible to learning fear from their parents. The current study compared children's fear beliefs and avoidance preferences for animals following positive or fearful modeling by mothers and strangers in vicarious learning and unlearning procedures. Children aged 6 to 10 years (N = 60) were exposed to pictures of novel animals either alone (control) or together with pictures of their mother or a stranger expressing fear or happiness. During unlearning (counterconditioning), children saw each animal again with their mother or a stranger expressing the opposite facial expression. Following vicarious learning, children's fear beliefs increased for animals seen with scared faces and this effect was the same whether fear was modeled by mothers or strangers. Fear beliefs and avoidance preferences decreased following positive counterconditioning and increased following fear counterconditioning. Again, learning was the same whether the model was the child's mother or a stranger. These findings indicate that children in this age group can vicariously learn and unlearn fear-related cognitions from both strangers and mothers. This has implications for our understanding of fear acquisition and the development of early interventions to prevent and reverse childhood fears and phobias. SN - 1931-1516 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23795591/Vicarious_learning_and_unlearning_of_fear_in_childhood_via_mother_and_stranger_models_ L2 - http://content.apa.org/journals/emo/13/5/974 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -