| Volume 7, Issue 1, 143-152, 2016 |
|Return to Issue List |
|The role of stimulus specificity and attention in the generalization of extinction|
| Tom Barry - Centre for Learning Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium|
| James Griffith - Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA|
| Bram Vervliet - Centre for Learning Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium|
| Dirk Hermans - Centre for Learning Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium|
|Volume 7, Issue 1, 2016, Pages 143-152|
|Exposure therapy for anxiety is effective but fear can still return afterward. This may be because the stimuli that people are exposed to are dissimilar from the stimuli to which fear was originally acquired.|
After pairing an animal-like image (A) with a shock stimulus (US), a perceptually similar stimulus (B) was presented without the US in extinction. Participants were then shown A (ABA), a second generalization stimulus (ABC) or B (ABB).
Groups ABA and ABC evidenced a return of US expectancy relative to participants who were shown B (ABB). Participants in group ABC who self-reported high levels of attentional control evidenced greater return of expectancy relative to participants low in attentional control. Participants with a high level of attentional control also showed steeper extinction gradients.
Attentional control may influence perceptions of similarity and the learning that follows. Making note of such differences may be valuable in exposure treatment for anxiety.
|Table of Contents|
Stimuli and Measures
Generalization and attention
| Tom J. Barry, Centre for Learning Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, Psychology Faculty, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102 - Bus 3712, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. |
|Received 15 Apr 2015; Revised 12 Aug 2015; Accepted 1 Sep 2015; In Press 5 Feb 2016 |