A developmental analysis of threat/safety learning and extinction recall during middle childhood

Kalina J. Michalska, Tomer Shechner, Melanie Hong, Jennifer C Britton, Ellen Leibenluft, Daniel S. Pine, Nathan A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current study examined developmental changes in fear learning and generalization in 54 healthy 5-10-year old children using a novel fear conditioning paradigm. In this task, the conditioned stimuli (CS+/CS-) were two blue and yellow colored cartoon bells, and the unconditioned stimulus was an unpleasant loud alarm sound presented with a red cartoon bell. Physiological and subjective data were acquired. Three weeks after conditioning, 48 of these participants viewed the CS-, CS+, and morphed images resembling the CS+. Participants made threat-safety discriminations while appraising threat and remembering the CS+. Although no age-related differences in fear learning emerged, patterns of generalization were qualified by child age. Older children demonstrated better discrimination between the CS+ and CS morphs than younger age groups and also reported more fear to stimuli resembling the CS+ than younger children. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume146
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Fingerprint

Fear
Learning
Cartoons
Safety
Age Groups
Psychological Extinction
Generalization (Psychology)
Discrimination (Psychology)
Conditioning (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Aversive conditioning
  • Development
  • Extinction recall
  • Fear generalization
  • Fear learning
  • Skin conductance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

A developmental analysis of threat/safety learning and extinction recall during middle childhood. / Michalska, Kalina J.; Shechner, Tomer; Hong, Melanie; Britton, Jennifer C; Leibenluft, Ellen; Pine, Daniel S.; Fox, Nathan A.

In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Vol. 146, 01.06.2016, p. 95-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Michalska, Kalina J. ; Shechner, Tomer ; Hong, Melanie ; Britton, Jennifer C ; Leibenluft, Ellen ; Pine, Daniel S. ; Fox, Nathan A. / A developmental analysis of threat/safety learning and extinction recall during middle childhood. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 2016 ; Vol. 146. pp. 95-105.
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