Fear Processing, Psychophysiology, and PTSD.

  title={Fear Processing, Psychophysiology, and PTSD.},
  author={Seth D. Norrholm and Tanja Jovanovi{\'c}},
  journal={Harvard Review of Psychiatry},
The processing and regulation of fear is one of the key components of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fear can involve both acute and potential threats that can manifest in different behaviors and result from activity within different neural nodes and networks. Fear circuits have been studied extensively in animal models for several decades and in human neuroimaging research for almost 20 years. Therefore, the centrality of fear processing to PTSD lends the disorder to be more tractable… 

The clinical applications and practical relevance of human conditioning paradigms for posttraumatic stress disorder

  • D. ZujS. Norrholm
  • Psychology, Biology
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
  • 2019

Using Translational Models of Fear Conditioning to Uncover Sex-Linked Factors Related to PTSD Risk

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder that follows exposure to a traumatic event; however, not every person who experiences trauma will develop PTSD. Women

Impaired learning, memory, and extinction in posttraumatic stress disorder: translational meta-analysis of clinical and preclinical studies

It is argued that seemingly cross-species discrepancies in emotional/fearful memory deserve further study; until then animal models targeting this phenotype should be applied with care.

A Neurocomputational Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A neuroanatomically-inspired computational model based on gated attractor networks that is designed to replicate oculomotor behavior on an affective anti-saccade task and makes experimentally verifiable predictions about the consequences of increased prefrontal connectivity associated with cognitive reappraisal training.

Sex differences in acetylcholinesterase modulation during spatial and fear memory extinction in the amygdala; an animal study in the single prolonged stress model of PTSD

Findings provided evidence that sex differences in response to trauma were at least partly related to less fear extinction potential in female subjects and indicated that the extinction deficit was associated with reduced cholinergic activity in the amygdala of female animals.

Inhibited Personality Temperaments Translated Through Enhanced Avoidance and Associative Learning Increase Vulnerability for PTSD

Data from both humans and animals suggest that these personality traits promote enhanced avoidance and associative learning, as well as slowing of extinction in some training protocols, which all support the learning diathesis model.

A Review of the Relationship Between Emotional Learning and Memory, Sleep, and PTSD

Addressing fragmented sleep or sleep architecture could be used to increase emotional memory and learning processes and thus ameliorate responses to trauma exposure, reduce PTSD severity, and improve treatment.

Sex Differences in Remote Contextual Fear Generalization in Mice

This study examined how male and female mice generalize contextual fear at remote time intervals and found that the test order of training and generalization contexts is a critical determinant of generalization and context discrimination, particularly for female mice.



How the neurocircuitry and genetics of fear inhibition may inform our understanding of PTSD.

This review focuses on translational methods that have been used to examine fear conditioning and inhibition of fear in PTSD and summarizes genetic and neurobiological factors related to fear inhibition.

Neural Substrates of Overgeneralized Conditioned Fear in PTSD.

This first effort to examine behavioral and brain indices of generalized conditioned fear in PTSD using systematic methods developed in animals known as generalization gradients provides further understanding of a central yet understudied symptom of trauma-related psychopathology.

Fear learning circuitry is biased toward generalization of fear associations in posttraumatic stress disorder

Functional brain differences provide a putative neurobiological model for fear generalization whereby PTSD symptoms are triggered by threat cues that merely resemble the index trauma.

Fear and anxiety: animal models and human cognitive psychophysiology.

Conditioned Fear Associated Phenotypes as Robust, Translational Indices of Trauma-, Stressor-, and Anxiety-Related Behaviors

The current review highlights the versatility of fear conditioning paradigms, the implications for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, the robustness of these paradIGms to span an array of neuroscientific measures, and the need to understand the boundary conditions under which these paradigm are effective.

Context Processing and the Neurobiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Relationship Between the Fear Response and Chronic Stress

PTSD neurobiology and treatment within the context of fear and stress network interactions is discussed and the advantages of using an RDoC approach to better understand PTSD with fear conditioning and extinction paradigms are elucidated.

Reduced amygdala responsivity during conditioning to trauma-related stimuli in posttraumatic stress disorder.

These findings suggest maladaptive anticipatory coping with trauma-related stimuli in patients with PTSD, indicated by enhanced conditioning, with related abnormal amygdala reactivity and connectivity, and delayed extinction.