A01 A02 A03 A04 A05 A06 A07 A08 A09 A10 A11 A12 A13 A14 A15 A16 A18 F01 F02

A13 – Extinction in the therapy context

Armin Zlomuzica, Jürgen Margraf

Exposure is considered the most effective treatment option for anxiety disorders with extinction representing a central mechanism to achieve this. Exposure therapy benefit can vary considerably among patients. The principal aim of this project is to identify novel tools to optimize extinction and thus exposure-based therapy outcome in spider-fearful individuals. We will study the potential role of stress and self-efficacy enhancement on exposure-therapy outcome and generalization of treatment effects. To dissect the underlying behavioral and neuronal mechanisms, the effects of self-efficacy enhancement on differential fear conditioning with electrodermal, neuronal and subjective responses as dependent measures will be examined.

Guiding questions of A13:

  • Can we modulate fear extinction and retrieval via stress and the promotion of self-efficacy in spider-fearful participants?
  • Can we apply these interventions to yield more efficient and persistent reductions of avoidance behavior and fear in spider-fearful participants during and after EBT?
  • Are these interventions sufficient to induce fear reductions at different fear system levels (subjective, behavioral and physiological)?
  • Can we attribute the beneficial effect of SEE to a more optimized extinction learning and retrieval?
  • Is SEE associated with changes in neuronal activation in specific brain regions strongly implicated in fear extinction? Is SEE reflected by specific activations of downstream pathways, that is, an increased engagement of specific prefrontal cortex subregions?
Jürgen Margraf

Jürgen Margraf

Projektleiter A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Friederike Raeder

Friederike Raeder

Postdoc A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Armin Zlomuzica

Armin Zlomuzica

Projektleiter A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Ronja Regener

Ronja Regener

Doktorandin A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

10 project-relevant publications

Blechert J, Michael T, Vriends N, Margraf J, Wilhelm FH (2007) Fear conditioning in posttraumatic stress disorder: evidence for delayed extinction of autonomic, experiential, and behavioural responses. Behav Res Ther. 45(9): 2019–2033. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.02.012

de Quervain DJ-F, Bentz D, Michael T, Bolt OC, Wiederhold BK, Margraf J, Wilhelm FH (2011) Glucocorticoids enhance extinction-based psychotherapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108(16): 6621–6625. doi:10.1073/pnas.1018214108

de Quervain DJ-F, Margraf J (2008) Glucocorticoids for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias: a novel therapeutic approach. Eur J Pharmacol. 583(2-3): 365–371. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2007.11.068

Kleim B, Wilhelm FH, Temp L, Margraf J, Wiederhold BK, Rasch B (2014) Sleep enhances exposure therapy. Psychol Med. 44(7): 1511–1519. doi:10.1017/S0033291713001748

Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2015) Changing the future, not the past: a translational paradigm shift in treating anxiety. EMBO Rep. 16(3): 259–260. doi:10.15252/embr.201540076

Michael T, Blechert J, Vriends N, Margraf J, Wilhelm FH (2007) Fear conditioning in panic disorder: Enhanced resistance to extinction. J Abnorm Psychol. 116(3): 612–617. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.116.3.612

Mosig C, Merz CJ, Mohr C, Adolph D, Wolf OT, Schneider S, Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2014) Enhanced discriminative fear learning of phobia-irrelevant stimuli in spider-fearful individuals. Front Behav Neurosci. 8: 328. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00328

Wannemueller A, Appelbaum D, Kuppers M, Matten A, Teismann T, Adolph D, Margraf J (2016) Large Group Exposure Treatment: a Feasibility Study in Highly Spider Fearful Individuals. Front Psychol. 7: 1183. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01183

Zlomuzica A, Dere D, Machulska A, Adolph D, Dere E, Margraf J (2014) Episodic memories in anxiety disorders: clinical implications. Front Behav Neurosci. 8: 131. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00131

Zlomuzica A, Preusser F, Schneider S, Margraf J (2015) Increased perceived self-efficacy facilitates the extinction of fear in healthy participants. Front Behav Neurosci. 9: 270. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00270