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Accueil veterinaires comportementalistes Veille bibliographique veterinaires comportementalistes Conducting extinction in multiple contexts does not necessarily attenuate the renewal of shock expectancy in a fear-conditioning procedure with humans

Conducting extinction in multiple contexts does not necessarily attenuate the renewal of shock expectancy in a fear-conditioning procedure with humans

David L. Neumann, Ottmar V. Lipp and Storm E. Cory

Revue : Behaviour Research and Therapy

The renewal of Pavlovian-conditioned responses may provide a model for the relapse of fear following extinction-based treatments for anxiety disorders. Renewal can be observed if conditional stimulus (CS) and unconditional stimulus (US) pairings are given in one context, extinction trials of CS presentations in a second context, prior to test trials of CS presentations in the original acquisition context (ABA renewal). We examined ABA renewal in humans by using a fear-conditioning procedure with an unpleasant shock US. A renewal of rated shock expectancy was demonstrated with this procedure. Conducting extinction treatment in multiple contexts was expected to attenuate the renewal effect. However, the renewal of shock expectancy persisted when extinction treatment was given across three or five different contexts. With the current renewal design, learning task, and measure of conditioned behaviour, extinction treatment does not appear to readily generalise to the test context. The use of multiple extinction treatments in a clinical setting may not necessarily reduce the likelihood of relapse via a renewal effect.

Keywords: Pavlovian conditioning; Exposure therapy; Context; Relapse



Corresponding author. Tel.: +61(0)7 5552 8052; fax: +61(0)7 5552 8291.

Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 45, Issue 2 , February 2007, Pages 385-394

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