Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sleep. 2009 Jan;32(1):19-26.

Sleep promotes generalization of extinction of conditioned fear.

Author information

  • 1Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Center for Sleep & Cognition, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA 02215, USA. epacesch@bidmc.harvard.edu

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To examine the effects of sleep on fear conditioning, extinction, extinction recall, and generalization of extinction recall in healthy humans.

DESIGN:

During the Conditioning phase, a mild, 0.5-sec shock followed conditioned stimuli (CS+s), which consisted of 2 differently colored lamps. A third lamp color was interspersed but never reinforced (CS-). Immediately after Conditioning, one CS+ was extinguished (CS+E) by presentation without shocks (Extinction phase). The other CS+ went unextinguished (CS+U). Twelve hours later, following continuous normal daytime waking (Wake group, N=27) or an equal interval containing a normal night's sleep (Sleep group, N=26), conditioned responses (CRs) to all CSs were measured (Extinction Recall phase). It was hypothesized that the Sleep versus Wake group would show greater extinction recall and/or generalization of extinction recall from the CS+E to the CS+U.

SETTING:

Academic medical center.

SUBJECTS:

Paid normal volunteers.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

Square-root transformed skin conductance response (SCR) measured conditioned responding. During Extinction Recall, the Group (Wake or Sleep) x CS+ Type (CS+E or CS+U) interaction was significant (P = 0.04). SCRs to the CS+E did not differ between groups, whereas SCRs to the CS+U were significantly smaller in the Sleep group. Additionally, SCRs were significantly larger to the CS+U than CS+E in the Wake but not the Sleep group.

CONCLUSIONS:

After sleep, extinction memory generalized from an extinguished conditioned stimulus to a similarly conditioned but unextinguished stimulus. Clinically, adequate sleep may promote generalization of extinction memory from specific stimuli treated during exposure therapy to similar stimuli later encountered in vivo.

Comment in

PMID:
19189775
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2625320
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk