Extinction treatment in multiple contexts attenuates ABC renewal in humans
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Renewal has been implicated as one of the underlying mechanisms in return of fear following exposure therapy. ABC renewal is clinically more relevant than ABA renewal and yet it is a weaker form of renewal, suggesting that conducting extinction treatment in multiple contexts may be sufficient to attenuate ABC renewal. Using self-reported expectancy of shock and startle blink responses the current study examined the effects of conducting extinction treatment in multiple contexts on ABC fear renewal. Participants (N 젶8) received conditional stimulus (CS) and unconditional stimulus (US) pairings in one context (A) followed by extinction treatment (CS presentations alone) in either one other context (B) or three other contexts (BCD). Non-reinforced test trials in a novel context (E) resulted in renewal of extinguished conditioned behaviour for those who received extinction in only one context. However, renewal was attenuated for those who received extinction treatment in three contexts. No renewal was found for the control group that received the test trial in the same context as during extinction. Suggestions are provided for clinicians seeking to prevent or attenuate return of fear following exposure therapy.
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology