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Cued aversive classical conditioning in humans: The role of trait-anxiety

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.32021    3,044 Downloads   4,976 Views  

ABSTRACT

No study so far has specifically addressed the influence of individual differences in trait-anxiety on aversive classical conditioning as indexed by the startle reflex response. We compared the startle reflex responses between participants classified as high (n = 25) and low (n = 26) in trait-anxiety while undergoing a single-cue aversive classical conditioning procedure. High trait-anxiety group showed a greater startle response to the CS relative to the ITI at the post-acquisition compared with the pre-acquisition phase. Low trait-anxiety group did not show such a clear pattern of conditioning, and results from this group seem to be concealed by differences in the startle responses to the CS and the ITI during the pre-acquisition phase. However, a post-hoc analysis in which such differences at pre-conditioning were removed showed no conditioning effects in low trait-anxiety participants. Taking together, these results suggest differences between high and low trait-anxiety groups in the acquisition of the CS-US association. However, further research should clarify the unexpected pattern of responses shown by low trait-anxiety group.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Andión, Ó. , Caseras, X. , Fullana, M. , Fernandez-Teruel, A. , Ferrer, M. , Casas, M. and Torrubia, R. (2013) Cued aversive classical conditioning in humans: The role of trait-anxiety. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 230-237. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.32021.

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