Elizabeth A. Phelps

Learn More
Understanding how fears are acquired is an important step in translating basic research to the treatment of fear-related disorders. However, understanding how learned fears are diminished may be even more valuable. We explored the neural mechanisms of fear extinction in humans. Studies of extinction in nonhuman animals have focused on two interconnected(More)
Commensurate with the importance of rapidly and efficiently evaluating motivationally significant stimuli, humans are probably endowed with distinct faculties and maintain specialized neural structures to enhance their detection. Here we consider that a critical function of the human amygdala is to enhance the perception of stimuli that have emotional(More)
Research on the neural systems underlying emotion in animal models over the past two decades has implicated the amygdala in fear and other emotional processes. This work stimulated interest in pursuing the brain mechanisms of emotion in humans. Here, we review research on the role of the amygdala in emotional processes in both animal models and humans. The(More)
We used fMRI to explore the neural substrates involved in the unconscious evaluation of Black and White social groups. Specifically, we focused on the amygdala, a subcortical structure known to play a role in emotional learning and evaluation. In Experiment 1, White American subjects observed faces of unfamiliar Black and White males. The strength of(More)
Echoplanar functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in normal human subjects to investigate the role of the amygdala in conditioned fear acquisition and extinction. A simple discrimination procedure was employed in which activation to a visual cue predicting shock (CS+) was compared with activation to another cue presented alone (CS-). CS+ and(More)
Traditional approaches to the study of cognition emphasize an information-processing view that has generally excluded emotion. In contrast, the recent emergence of cognitive neuroscience as an inspiration for understanding human cognition has highlighted its interaction with emotion. This review explores insights into the relations between emotion and(More)
Recent research on changing fears has examined targeting reconsolidation. During reconsolidation, stored information is rendered labile after being retrieved. Pharmacological manipulations at this stage result in an inability to retrieve the memories at later times, suggesting that they are erased or persistently inhibited. Unfortunately, the use of these(More)
The prevailing neurocircuitry models of anxiety disorders have been amygdalocentric in form. The bases for such models have progressed from theoretical considerations, extrapolated from research in animals, to in vivo human imaging data. For example, one current model of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been highly influenced by knowledge from(More)
We examined the neural substrates involved when subjects encountered an event linked verbally, but not experientially, to an aversive outcome. This instructed fear task models a primary way humans learn about the emotional nature of events. Subjects were told that one stimulus (threat) represents an aversive event (a shock may be given), whereas another(More)
The role of the hippocampus and adjacent medial temporal lobe structures in memory systems has long been debated. Here we show in humans that these neural structures are important for encoding implicit contextual information from the environment. We used a contextual cuing task in which repeated visual context facilitates visual search for embedded target(More)