Extinction in fear conditioning: effects on startle modulation and evaluative self-reports.Psychophysiology. 1998 Nov; 35(6):729-36.P
A basic feature of human evaluative conditioning is that the reported acquired valence of a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) that has been paired with a valenced unconditioned stimulus (US), is resistant to extinction. The present study investigated whether startle modulation, sometimes presented as an index of acquired valence, reflected this basic feature. In a differential fear conditioning paradigm (n = 38) with an electrocutaneous stimulus as the US, a strong extinction manipulation was conducted by removing the US-electrodes and by extended extinction trials. At the end of extinction, the results corroborated previous findings of evaluative conditioning in that the reported valence for CS+ was still more negative than for CS-, despite disappearance of the differential skin conductance responses. However, startle modulation did not show resistance-to-extinction. Results were discussed in terms of recent conceptualizations of extinction.