ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 4, Issue 4, 325-340, 2013
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Free Article Dual-Tasking Attenuates the Return of Fear after Extinction

Authors
Arne Leer(a), Iris M. Engelhard(a), Pauline Dibbets(b), and Marcel A. van den Hout(a)
(a) Utrecht University, Utrecht
(b) Maastricht University, Maastricht

Volume 4, Issue 4, 2013, Pages 325-340
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.029412

Abstract
Return of fear following exposure treatment may be explained by ABA-renewal: fear acquired in context A, and extinguished in context B, may return in context A. Conditioning theory predicts that intensity of conditioned fear is mediated by the mental representation of the unconditioned stimulus (US) evoked by the conditioned stimulus (CS). This study tested whether US-devaluation via a dual-task - imagining the US while making eye movements - attenuates fear renewal. Participants acquired fear in context A, and underwent extinction in context A or B. Next, two groups did a filler task (AAA; ABA), one a dual-task of US imagination with eye movements (ABA-DT), and one merely imagined the US (ABA-RO). Finally, participants were re-presented the CSs in context A. ABA-renewal was found for US-expectancy. Dual-tasking, but not recall only, reduced fear renewal. No between-group differences were observed in reductions of vividness, emotionality, and startle responses to the US. Findings suggest that dual-tasking may attenuate fear renewal.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Method
Participants
Stimuli
Outcome measures
US-expectancy
Cognitive US representation
Questionnaires
Procedure
Acquisition phase
Extinction phase
Test phase
Data preparation
Data reduction
Skin conductance responses
Startle responses
Results
US-expectancy
Self-report
Skin conductance responses
Change in the cognitive US representation
Discussion
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
Arne Leer, Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Keywords
Dual-tasking; US-devaluation; Fear renewal; Extinction; Context; EMDR

Dates
Received 25 May 2012; Revised 28 Jan 2013; Accepted 28 Jan 2013; In Press 16 Oct 2013







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