Fear Conditioning and Attention to Threat

Katherine Oehlberg and Susan Mineka

in Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735969
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894529 | DOI:
Fear Conditioning and Attention to Threat

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This chapter reviews the emerging literatures on conditioning of fear and anxiety and attentional biases for threat. First, it identifies constructs common to both phenomena and suggest reasons for an approach that integrates both processes in the study of human anxiety disorders. The chapter also provides the current literature on individual differences in fear and anxiety conditioning. Next, it provides a current account of research on attentional biases for threat, which has focused on differentiating the components of attention affected by the threat relevance of stimuli and individual differences in anxiety. Finally, the chapter reviews the growing number of studies that have combined conditioning and attention paradigms to investigate the relationships between these two phenomena. The chapter concludes by indicating how these approaches to the study of conditioning and attentional processing in human anxiety might be integrated in the future.

Keywords: conditioning; attention; anxiety; fear; attentional biases

Chapter.  21250 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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