Safe from Harm: Learned, Instructed, and Symbolic Generalization Pathways of Human Threat-Avoidance

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Article on learned, instructed, and symbolic generalization pathways of human threat-avoidance.

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8 p.

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Dymond, Simon; Schlund, Michael W.; Roche, Bryan; Houwer, Jan de & Freegard, Gary P. October 15, 2012.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: UNT Scholarly Works and was provided by UNT College of Arts and Sciences to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 88 times . More information about this article can be viewed below.

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Article on learned, instructed, and symbolic generalization pathways of human threat-avoidance.

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8 p.

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Abstract: Avoidance of threatening or unpleasant events is usually an adaptive behavioural strategy. Sometimes, however, avoidance can become chronic and lead to impaired daily functioning. Excessive threat-avoidance is a central diagnostic feature of anxiety disorders, yet little is known about whether avoidance acquired in the absence of a direct history of conditioning with a fearful event differs from directly learned avoidance. In the present study, we tested whether avoidance acquired indirectly via verbal instructions and symbolic generalization result in similar levels of avoidance behaviour and threat-beliefs to avoidance acquired after direct learning. Following fear conditioning in which one conditioned stimulus was paired with shock (CS+) and another was not (CS−), participants either learned or were instructed to make a response that cancelled impending shock. Three groups were then tested with a learned CS+ and CS− (learned group), instructed CS+ (instructed group), and generalized CS+ (derived group) presentations. Results showed similar levels of avoidance behaviour and threat-belief ratings about the likelihood of shock across each of the three pathways despite the different mechanisms by which they were acquired. Findings have implications for understanding the aetiology of clinical avoidance in anxiety.

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  • PLoS One, 2012, San Francisco: Public Library of Science

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  • Publication Title: PLoS One
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 10
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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UNT Scholarly Works

Materials from the UNT community's research, creative, and scholarly activities and UNT's Open Access Repository. Access to some items in this collection may be restricted.

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  • October 15, 2012

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  • Feb. 21, 2014, 2:41 p.m.

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  • June 24, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

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Dymond, Simon; Schlund, Michael W.; Roche, Bryan; Houwer, Jan de & Freegard, Gary P. Safe from Harm: Learned, Instructed, and Symbolic Generalization Pathways of Human Threat-Avoidance, article, October 15, 2012; [San Francisco, California]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc275800/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.