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

A13 – The impact of modification of stimulus-outcome contingencies on extinction and exposure in anxiety disorders

Armin Zlomuzica, Marcella Woud, 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?

Armin Zlomuzica

Projektleiter A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Marcella Woud

Projektleiterin A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Jürgen Margraf

Projektleiter A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Beray Macit

Doktorandin A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Annalisa Lipp

Doktorandin A13

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

10 project-relevant publications

Blackwell SE, Woud ML, Margraf J, Schönbrodt FD (2019) Introducing the Leapfrog Design: A Simple Bayesian Adaptive Rolling Trial Design for Accelerated Treatment Development and Optimization. Clin Psychol Sci. 7(6): 1222–1243.

Raeder F, Heidemann F, Schedlowski M, Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2019) No pills, more skills: The adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use on exposure therapy benefit. J Psychiatr Res. 119: 95–101.

Raeder F, Karbach L, Struwe H, Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2019) Low Perceived Self-Efficacy Impedes Discriminative Fear Learning. Front Psychol. 10: 144.

Raeder F, Merz CJ, Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2020) The association between fear extinction, the ability to accomplish exposure and exposure therapy outcome in specific phobia. Sci Rep. 10(1): 4288.

Raeder F, Merz CJ, Tegenthoff M, Wolf OT, Margraf J, Zlomuzica A (2019) Post-exposure cortisol administration does not augment the success of exposure therapy: A randomized placebo-controlled study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 99: 174–182.

Raeder F, Woud ML, Schneider S, Totzeck C, Adolph D, Margraf J, Zlomuzica (2019) A Reactivation and Evaluation of Mastery Experiences Promotes Exposure Benefit in Height Phobia. Cognit Ther Res. 43: 948–958.

Woud ML, Becker ES (2014) Editorial for the Special Issue on Cognitive Bias Modification Techniques: An Introduction to a Time Traveller’s Tale. Cognit Ther Res. 38(2): 83–88.

Woud ML, Holmes EA, Postma P, Dalgleish T, Mackintosh B (2012) Ameliorating intrusive memories of distressing experiences using computerized reappraisal training. Emotion. 12(4): 778–784.

Woud ML, Zlomuzica A, Cwik JC, Margraf J, Shkreli L, Blackwell SE, Gladwin TE, Ehring T (2018) Effects of appraisal training on responses to a distressing autobiographical event. J Anxiety Disord. 56: 26–34.

Zlomuzica A, Schneider S, Konrad C, Merz CJ, Wolf OT, Raeder F, Margraf J (2020) Clinical implications of fear extinction in anxiety disorders. Neuroforum. 26(3): 143-149.