Special Issue "Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Systems Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jennifer J. Quinn
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
Interests: learning, memory, consolidation, reconsolidation, fear, stress, anxiety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The neural mechanisms mediating fear learning and memory are highly conserved and increasingly well-delineated. The examination of these basic mechanisms allows us to better understand the pathophysiology of fear-related disorders such as specific phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder. Recently, extensive efforts have been made in understanding the neural mechanisms of extinction and reconsolidation of fear memories, as they carry therapeutic potential for the treatment of these psychiatric conditions. Despite this tremendous progress, our understanding of sex differences in, and developmental influences on fear memory mechanisms and vulnerability for fear-related dysfunction remains underdeveloped. The goals of this Special Issue are to 1) provide an overview of basic fear memory mechanisms and of the current advances on this topic; 2) highlight pre-clinical and clinical approaches to the treatment of fear-related disorders; 3) examine sex differences in fear memory mechanisms and in the propensity toward the development of fear-related disorders; 4) outline developmental influences on the mechanisms mediating fear memories and the maintenance of those memories.

Dr. Jennifer J. Quinn
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Prefrontal Cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
  • Extinction
  • Reconsolidation
  • Sex differences
  • Developmental influences
  • Specific phobias
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Differential Strategies of Emotion Regulation
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(9), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9090225 - 05 Sep 2019
Abstract
Patients suffering from mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders, are often impaired by inadequate emotional reactions. Specific aspects are the insufficient perception of their own emotional states and the use of dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies. Both aspects are interdependent. Thus, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) [...] Read more.
Patients suffering from mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders, are often impaired by inadequate emotional reactions. Specific aspects are the insufficient perception of their own emotional states and the use of dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies. Both aspects are interdependent. Thus, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comprises the development and training of adequate emotion regulation strategies. Traditionally, reappraisal is the most common strategy, but strategies of acceptance are becoming more important in the course of advancing CBT. Indeed, there is evidence that emotion regulation strategies differ in self-reported effectiveness, psychophysiological reactions, and underlying neural correlates. However, comprehensive comparisons of different emotion regulation strategies are sparse. The present study, therefore, compared the effect of three common emotion regulation strategies (reappraisal, acceptance, and suppression) on self-reported effectiveness, recollection, and psychophysiological as well as electroencephalographic dimensions. Twenty-nine healthy participants were instructed to either reappraise, accept, suppress, or passively observe their upcoming emotional reactions while anxiety- and sadness-inducing pictures were presented. Results showed a compelling effect of reappraisal on emotional experience, skin conductance response, and P300 amplitude. Acceptance was almost as effective as reappraisal, but led to increased emotional experience. Combining all results, suppression was shown to be the least effective but significantly decreased emotional experience when thoughts and feelings had to be suppressed. Moreover, results show that greater propensity for rumination differentially impairs strategies of emotion regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
How Therapeutic Tapping Can Alter Neural Correlates of Emotional Prosody Processing in Anxiety
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(8), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9080206 - 19 Aug 2019
Abstract
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorders worldwide resulting in a great demand of adequate and cost-effective treatment. New short-term interventions can be used as an effective adjunct or alternative to pharmaco- and psychotherapy. One of these approaches is therapeutic tapping. It [...] Read more.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorders worldwide resulting in a great demand of adequate and cost-effective treatment. New short-term interventions can be used as an effective adjunct or alternative to pharmaco- and psychotherapy. One of these approaches is therapeutic tapping. It combines somatic stimulation of acupressure points with elements from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Tapping reduces anxiety symptoms after only one session. Anxiety is associated with a deficient emotion regulation for threatening stimuli. These deficits are compensated e.g., by CBT. Whether Tapping can also elicit similar modulations and which dynamic neural correlates are affected was subject to this study. Anxiety patients were assessed listening to pseudowords with a different emotional prosody (happy, angry, fearful, and neutral) prior and after one Tapping session. The emotion-related component Late Positive Potential (LPP) was investigated via electroencephalography. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) served as control intervention. Results showed LPP reductions for negative stimuli after the interventions. Interestingly, PMR influenced fearful and Tapping altered angry prosody. While PMR generally reduced arousal for fearful prosody, Tapping specifically affected fear-eliciting, angry stimuli, and might thus be able to reduce anxiety symptoms. Findings highlight the efficacy of Tapping and its impact on neural correlates of emotion regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Neuromodulation Strategies in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: From Preclinical Models to Clinical Applications
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9020045 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an often debilitating disease with a lifetime prevalence rate between 5–8%. In war veterans, these numbers are even higher, reaching approximately 10% to 25%. Although most patients benefit from the use of medications and psychotherapy, approximately 20% to [...] Read more.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an often debilitating disease with a lifetime prevalence rate between 5–8%. In war veterans, these numbers are even higher, reaching approximately 10% to 25%. Although most patients benefit from the use of medications and psychotherapy, approximately 20% to 30% do not have an adequate response to conventional treatments. Neuromodulation strategies have been investigated for various psychiatric disorders with promising results, and may represent an important treatment option for individuals with difficult-to-treat forms of PTSD. We review the relevant neurocircuitry and preclinical stimulation studies in models of fear and anxiety, as well as clinical data on the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of PTSD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
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Other

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Open AccessCommentary
From Extinction Learning to Anxiety Treatment: Mind the Gap
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(7), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9070164 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Laboratory models of extinction learning in animals and humans have the potential to illuminate methods for improving clinical treatment of fear-based clinical disorders. However, such translational research often neglects important differences between threat responses in animals and fear learning in humans, particularly as [...] Read more.
Laboratory models of extinction learning in animals and humans have the potential to illuminate methods for improving clinical treatment of fear-based clinical disorders. However, such translational research often neglects important differences between threat responses in animals and fear learning in humans, particularly as it relates to the treatment of clinical disorders. Specifically, the conscious experience of fear and anxiety, along with the capacity to deliberately engage top-down cognitive processes to modulate that experience, involves distinct brain circuitry and is measured and manipulated using different methods than typically used in laboratory research. This paper will identify how translational research that investigates methods of enhancing extinction learning can more effectively model such elements of human fear learning, and how doing so will enhance the relevance of this research to the treatment of fear-based psychological disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
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