A01 A02 A03 A04 A05 A06 A07 A09 A10 A11 A12 A13 A14 A18 A19 A21 F01 F02 INF Ö

A09 – Stress hormone effects on contextualized extinction memories

Christian Merz, Valerie Jentsch, Oliver Wolf

The impact of cortisol administration or exposure to stress on extinction processes will be tested in four domains. First, effects of cortisol on stimulus-based fear generalization during extinction will be explored using neuroimaging. Second, effects of a novel method of reactivation (presentation of the UCS) combined with cortisol administration on reconsolidation and fear generalization will be tested. Third, the influence of stress on context-dependent reinstatement will be investigated. Fourth, phase dependent stress effects on extinction of operant behavior will be characterized using appetitive and aversive consequences.

Guiding questions of A09:

  • Does the stress hormone cortisol influence extinction generalization and what are the neural correlates?
  • Does reactivation with the UCS combined with cortisol administration lead to enhanced reconsolidation and stimulus generalization?
  • Does context modulate the reinstatement effect and is this further potentiated by stress?
  • Are the effects of stress on the extinction of operant behavior similar to the effects observed for classical conditioning and are they comparable for appetitive and aversive learning?

Christian Merz

Projektleiter A09

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Valerie Jentsch née Kinner

Projektleiterin A09

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Oliver T. Wolf

Projektleiter A09

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Jaël Caviola

Doktorandin A09

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Lianne Wolsink

Doktorandin A09

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Leander Fester

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter A09

Ruhr Universität Bochum

10 project-relevant publications

Hagedorn B, Wolf OT, Merz CJ (2021) Stimulus-based extinction generalization: neural correlates and modulation by cortisol. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 24(4): 354-365

Jentsch VL, Wolf OT (2020) Acute physical exercise promotes the consolidation of emotional material. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 173: 107252.

Jentsch VL, Wolf OT, Merz CJ (2020) Temporal dynamics of conditioned skin conductance and pupillary responses during fear acquisition and extinction. Int J Psychophysiol. 147: 93–99.

Kinner VL, Merz CJ, Lissek S, Wolf OT (2016) Cortisol disrupts the neural correlates of extinction recall. NeuroImage. 133: 233–243.

Kinner VL, Wolf OT, Merz CJ (2018) Cortisol increases the return of fear by strengthening amygdala signaling in men. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 91: 79–85.

Lonsdorf TB, Klingelhöfer-Jens M, Andreatta M, Beckers T, Chalkia A, Gerlicher A, Jentsch VL, Meir Drexler S, Mertens G, Richter J, Sjouwerman R, Wendt J, Merz CJ (2019) Navigating the garden of forking paths for data exclusions in fear conditioning research. ELife. 8.

Lonsdorf TB, Merz CJ, Fullana MA (2019) Fear Extinction Retention: Is It What We Think It Is? Biol Psychiatry.

Meir Drexler S, Merz CJ, Jentsch VL, Wolf OT (2019) How stress and glucocorticoids timing-dependently affect extinction and relapse. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 98: 145–153.

Meir Drexler S, Merz CJ, Lissek S, Tegenthoff M, Wolf OT (2019) Reactivation of the Unconditioned Stimulus Inhibits the Return of Fear Independent of Cortisol. Front Behav Neurosci. 13: 254.

Merz CJ, Hamacher-Dang TC, Stark R, Wolf OT, Hermann A (2018) Neural Underpinnings of Cortisol Effects on Fear Extinction. Neuropsychopharmacology. 43(2): 384–392.