ERIC Number: EJ1020961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Learned Together, Extinguished Apart: Reducing Fear to Complex Stimuli
Jones, Carolyn E.; Ringuet, Stephanie; Monfils, Marie-H.
Learning & Memory, v20 n12 p674-685 Dec 2013
Pairing a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS; e.g., a tone) to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US; e.g., a footshock) leads to associative learning such that the tone alone comes to elicit a conditioned response (e.g., freezing). We have previously shown that an extinction session that occurs within the reconsolidation window attenuates fear responding and prevents the return of fear in pure tone Pavlovian fear conditioning. Here we sought to examine whether this effect also applies to a more complex fear memory. First, we show that after fear conditioning to the simultaneous presentation of a tone and a light (T+L) coterminating with a shock, the compound memory that ensues is more resistant to fear extinction than simple tone-shock pairings. Next, we demonstrate that the compound memory can be disrupted by interrupting the reconsolidation of the two individual components using a sequential retrieval+extinction paradigm, provided the stronger compound component is retrieved first. These findings provide insight into how compound memories are encoded, and could have important implications for PTSD treatment.
Descriptors: Fear, Conditioning, Stimuli, Associative Learning, Learning Processes, Memory, Cognitive Processes, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A