Volume 16 Num. 3 - October 2016
Transfer of Conditioned Fear-potentiated Startle across Equivalence Classes. An Exploratory Study
Volume 16 Num. 3 - October 2016 - Pages 249-263
Miguel Ángel López Medina , Miguel Rodríguez Valverde , Mónica Hernández López
Research on fear conditioning is key to understanding the genesis and maintenance of anxiety disorders. A still scarce but growing evidence shows that fear-conditioned arousal reactions may transfer amongst physically dissimilar but symbolically related (e.g. equivalent) stimuli. The limited investigation published to date has relied on skin conductance responses as its main measure. Thus far, no published studies have analyzed this phenomenon using more emotionally sensitive psychophysiological measures, like fear-potentiated startle. Twenty-seven participants underwent a matching-to-sample procedure for the formation of two four-member equivalence classes (A1-B1-C1-D1 and A2-B2-C2-D2). Then, one element from each class was used in a differential aversive conditioning procedure (CS+: B1; CS-: B2) with electric shock as the UCS. Eye-blink startle (measured as EMG activity of the orbicularis oculi muscle after a burst of white noise), skin conductance responses, and shock-risk self-report ratings were collected. Results show no evidence of transfer of functions with any of the psychophysiological measures. A weak, inconclusive effect was observed for self-reported ratings.
How to cite: López-Medina MA, Rodríguez-Valverde M, & Hernández-López M (2016). Transfer of Conditioned Fear-potentiated Startle across Equivalence Classes. An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 16, 249-263.
transfer of functions, fear conditioning, generalization, equivalence relations, fear-potentiated startle
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