ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 1, 13-27, 2015
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Physical context regulates the renewal of fear in indirect pathways: An examination of fear reduction processes using verbal information provision and modelling

  Carol Newall - Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University
  Isabella Jacomb - Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
  Jennifer Hudson - Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
  Suzanne Broeren - Erasmus Medical Centre

Volume 6, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 13-27

Among adults, classically conditioned fears that have been extinguished can recover through a change of physical context. Recovery of fear via a change of physical context is typically termed ‘renewal’. In this study, we investigated whether adults also exhibit renewal via the verbal threat information pathway. Fifty adult participants (M = 20 years-old; range: 18 to 45 years of age) acquired fear beliefs about a novel and fictitious animal through the provision of threatening information about the animal. Fears were reduced via the verbal provision of positive information and modelling. Participants were randomised to receive fear reduction in either the same context (Context A) or in a different context (Context B) to the context used for fear acquisition (Context A). All participants were then tested back in the context of acquisition. Results showed fears recovered when the context of fear reduction and the context of test were different, indicating physical context regulates the renewal of verbally acquired and reduced fear. The findings are discussed in terms of current theoretical and developmental models for fear extinction and the implications for relapse models of adult anxiety disorders.

Table of Contents
  Laptop computer.
  Fear vignette.
  Touch boxes.
  State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).
  Fear beliefs questionnaire (FBQ).
  Behavioural Avoidance Task (BAT).
 Statistical analyses
  Fear beliefs.
  Behavioural approach.
 Preliminary data
 Fear beliefs
  Training phases
  Test phase
  Behavioural approach task

Correspondence to
Carol Newall, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University 2109, Australia.

extinction, fear reduction, verbal learning, renewal, vicarious learning

Received 12 Nov 2013; Revised 16 May 2014; Accepted 16 May 2014; In Press 5 Apr 2015

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