As a key component in fear avoidance models of pain chronification, avoidance fueled by fear of pain is a main obstacle to successful extinction. However, mechanisms underlying pain-related avoidance are uncharted territory, particularly in the context of visceral pain.
We proudly present “An offer you cannot refuse – The true cost of avoidance“, a novel and phenomenologically valid avoidance protocol implemented by Ariane Icenhour and Franziska Labrenz. The two treasure box candidates aim to investigate the behavioral, autonomic and neural correlates of conditioning-induced avoidance and its influence on extinction.
They hypothesize that the magnitude of conditioned pain-related fear can predict subsequent avoidance, which is assumed to involve neuro-circuits implicated in reward processing and decision making. Unpredicted painful experiences as they would occur as the cost of avoidance are expected to induce hypervigilance, reflected by an involvement of the salience network, a generalization of pain-related fear to safety cues and novel stimuli, and impaired extinction.
The SFB 1280 has set up a budget for the realisation of the research ideas of its young scientists. With the “treasure box”, we finance convincing and independent study concepts of young scientists.