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Avoidance of learnt fear: Models, potential mechanisms, and future directions.
Behav Res Ther. 2022 04; 151:104056.BR

Abstract

Avoiding stimuli that were previously associated with threat is essential for adaptive functioning, but excessive avoidance that persists in the absence of threat can turn dysfunctional and results in severe impairments. Fear and avoidance conditioning models have substantially contributed to the understanding of safety behaviors towards learnt fear stimuli. Safety behaviors are executed in the presence of a feared stimulus to prevent the upcoming threat and are well-established in laboratory models. Avoidance of learnt fear, i.e., avoidance of the feared stimulus itself, is typically initiated before the onset of a feared stimulus: individuals oftentimes avoid fear stimuli to prevent negative emotions evoked by them or ultimately the associated threat. Avoidance of learnt fear is surprisingly understudied despite its prevalence in pathological anxiety. The current overview proposes potential behavioral mechanisms and neural circuits of avoidance of learnt fear in humans, and discusses findings and paradigms suitable for examining it. Specifically, higher-order conditioning, decision making paradigms, and context-cue conditioning investigate distinct forms of avoidance of learnt fear. We also discuss the clinical prospects and future directions of research in avoidance of learnt fear.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology (Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Psychotherapy), University of Würzburg, Marcusstraβe 9-11, 97070, Würzburg, Germany. Electronic address: h.k.wong@essb.eur.nl.Department of Psychology (Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Psychotherapy), University of Würzburg, Marcusstraβe 9-11, 97070, Würzburg, Germany.Department of Psychology (Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Psychotherapy), University of Würzburg, Marcusstraβe 9-11, 97070, Würzburg, Germany; Translational Psychotherapy, Department of Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nägelsbachstraβe 49b, 91052, Erlangen, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

35231778

Citation

Wong, Alex H K., et al. "Avoidance of Learnt Fear: Models, Potential Mechanisms, and Future Directions." Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 151, 2022, p. 104056.
Wong AHK, Wirth FM, Pittig A. Avoidance of learnt fear: Models, potential mechanisms, and future directions. Behav Res Ther. 2022;151:104056.
Wong, A. H. K., Wirth, F. M., & Pittig, A. (2022). Avoidance of learnt fear: Models, potential mechanisms, and future directions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 151, 104056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2022.104056
Wong AHK, Wirth FM, Pittig A. Avoidance of Learnt Fear: Models, Potential Mechanisms, and Future Directions. Behav Res Ther. 2022;151:104056. PubMed PMID: 35231778.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Avoidance of learnt fear: Models, potential mechanisms, and future directions. AU - Wong,Alex H K, AU - Wirth,Franziska M, AU - Pittig,Andre, Y1 - 2022/02/23/ PY - 2021/05/21/received PY - 2022/01/31/revised PY - 2022/02/07/accepted PY - 2022/3/2/pubmed PY - 2022/3/2/medline PY - 2022/3/1/entrez KW - Anxiety-related disorders KW - Associative learning KW - Avoidance KW - CS-Avoidance KW - Extinction KW - Fear conditioning SP - 104056 EP - 104056 JF - Behaviour research and therapy JO - Behav Res Ther VL - 151 N2 - Avoiding stimuli that were previously associated with threat is essential for adaptive functioning, but excessive avoidance that persists in the absence of threat can turn dysfunctional and results in severe impairments. Fear and avoidance conditioning models have substantially contributed to the understanding of safety behaviors towards learnt fear stimuli. Safety behaviors are executed in the presence of a feared stimulus to prevent the upcoming threat and are well-established in laboratory models. Avoidance of learnt fear, i.e., avoidance of the feared stimulus itself, is typically initiated before the onset of a feared stimulus: individuals oftentimes avoid fear stimuli to prevent negative emotions evoked by them or ultimately the associated threat. Avoidance of learnt fear is surprisingly understudied despite its prevalence in pathological anxiety. The current overview proposes potential behavioral mechanisms and neural circuits of avoidance of learnt fear in humans, and discusses findings and paradigms suitable for examining it. Specifically, higher-order conditioning, decision making paradigms, and context-cue conditioning investigate distinct forms of avoidance of learnt fear. We also discuss the clinical prospects and future directions of research in avoidance of learnt fear. SN - 1873-622X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/35231778/Avoidance_of_learnt_fear:_Models_potential_mechanisms_and_future_directions_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0005-7967(22)00027-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -