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Backward masking and skin conductance responses after conditioning to nonfeared but fear-relevant stimuli in fearful subjects.
Uppsala university/karolinska Institutet.
1993 (English)In: Psychophysiology, ISSN 0048-5772, E-ISSN 1469-8986, Vol. 30, no 5, 460-466 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examined two issues. Are skin conductance responses conditioned to fear-relevant stimuli, as contrasted with responses conditioned to fear-irrelevant stimuli, elicited after merely an automatic, nonconscious analysis of the stimulus content? Do fearful subjects show better conditioning to nonfeared but fear-relevant stimuli (e.g., conditioning to spiders in snake-fearing subjects) than do nonfearful subjects? Subjects afraid of snakes, but not of spiders, or vice versa (n= 32) and nonfearful subjects (n= 32) were shown either fear-relevant stimuli (snakes or spiders and rats) or fear-irrelevant stimuli (flowers and mushrooms) in a differential conditioning paradigm, where one of the stimuli was followed by an electric shock. During a subsequent extinction phase, the conditioned stimuli were presented under backward masking conditions, preventing their conscious recognition. Consistent with our hypothesis, during the masked extinction of the conditioned stimuli, differential skin conductance responses to conditioning and control stimuli remained only for subjects conditioned to fear-relevant stimuli. Both fearful and nonfearful control subjects had significantly larger differential electrodermal responses to fear-relevant than to fear-irrelevant stimuli. However, contrary to our hypothesis, fearful subjects did not show enhanced conditionability to their nonfeared but fear-relevant stimuli as compared with nonfearful control subjects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1993. Vol. 30, no 5, 460-466 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12726DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1993.tb02069.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-12726DiVA: diva2:377736
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-14 Last updated: 2011-01-14Bibliographically approved

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