We compile citations and summaries of about 400 new articles every week.
RSS Feed

HELP: Tutorials | FAQ
CONTACT US: Contact info

Search Results

Journal Article


Sjouwerman R, Lonsdorf TB. Psychophysiology 2020; 57(5): e13549.


Department of Systems Neuroscience, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


(Copyright © 2020, Society for Psychophysiological Research, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






Experimental paradigms used to study reinstatement of fear in humans are characterized by procedural heterogeneity. Reinstatement protocols involve unexpected (re)-presentations of the unconditioned stimulus (USs) after fear extinction training. Here, we address the number of reinstatement USs administered as a potential boundary condition that may explain divergent findings in the field. A sample of 171 participants is exposed to a fear acquisition training, immediate extinction training, and reinstatement test experiment. Three groups differing in the number of reinstatement US are employed: one (n = 57) or four (n = 55) in experimental groups and zero (n = 59) in the control group. We adopt Bayesian statistical approaches beyond classical null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) to qualify evidence for or against this potential methodological boundary condition in reinstatement-induced return of fear. Startle potentiation to the reinstatement administration context was increased for the RI-USone compared to the RI-USzero group, supporting the role of context conditioning in reinstatement. This effect was weaker in the RI-USfour group. This, however, did not transfer to responding to conditioned stimuli during the return of fear-test: no evidence for an effect of the number of reinstatement USs (zero, one, four) was observed in behavioral or physiological measures. In sum, our results speak against the number of reinstatement USs as a potential boundary condition in experimentally induced return of fear in humans. This may challenge what we think we know about the reinstatement phenomenon in humans and call for critical reconsideration of paradigms as well as mechanisms that may underlie some reinstatement effects in the literature.

© 2020 The Authors. Psychophysiology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Language: en


fear potentiated startle; reinstatement; renewal; return of fear; skin conductance


All SafetyLit records are available for automatic download to Zotero & Mendeley