Conceptual similarity promotes generalization of higher order fear learning.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We tested the hypothesis that conceptual similarity promotes generalization of conditioned fear. Using a sensory preconditioning procedure, three groups of subjects learned an association between two cues that were conceptually similar, unrelated, or mismatched. Next, one of the cues was paired with a shock. The other cue was then reintroduced to test for fear generalization, as measured by the skin conductance response. Results showed enhanced fear generalization that correlated with trait anxiety levels in the group that learned an association between conceptually similar stimuli. These findings suggest that conceptual representations of conditional stimuli influence human fear learning processes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dunsmoor, JE; White, AJ; LaBar, KS

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 156 - 160

PubMed ID

  • 21330378

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3056515

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1549-5485

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1072-0502

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1101/lm.2016411


  • eng