Learning to fear obstructed breathing: comparing interoceptive and exteroceptive cues.


The present study investigated interoceptive fear conditioning (IFC) to an interoceptive and exteroceptive conditional stimulus (CS) with a severe respiratory load applied for 30s as the unconditional stimulus (US). CSs were another, weak respiratory load in the intero-IFC study (N=74), and a neutral picture in the extero-IFC study (N=42). CSs preceded the US in the paired groups, whereas the unpaired groups received the same number of unpaired CSs and USs. We measured startle blink EMG, self-reported fear and respiration. In the intero-IFC study, the CS-load was associated with larger startle blinks and a smaller decrease in respiratory rate and tidal volume in the paired compared to the unpaired group. In the extero-IFC study, the CS-picture evoked an increase in tidal volume and self-reported fear only in the paired group. In addition, startle potentiation during the CS-picture was greater for the paired than for the unpaired group.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.05.004
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@article{Pappens2013LearningTF, title={Learning to fear obstructed breathing: comparing interoceptive and exteroceptive cues.}, author={Meike Pappens and Omer Van den Bergh and Debora Vansteenwegen and Erik Ceunen and Steven De Peuter and Ilse van Diest}, journal={Biological psychology}, year={2013}, volume={92 1}, pages={36-42} }