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Effet of control over stressors to prevent the return of conditioned fear in humans: functional connectivity analysis of the fMRI BOLD signal

Grant number: 13/10907-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 10, 2014
Effective date (End): January 09, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Physiological Psychology
Principal researcher:Maria Gabriela Menezes de Oliveira
Grantee:Cesar Augusto de Oliveira Coelho
Supervisor abroad: Elizabeth Anya Phelps
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: New York University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/17619-0 - Network analysis of contextual fear conditioning learning in the absence of hippocampus, BP.DR


Fear Conditioning is one of the most used paradigms in animal models studies to investigate the neurobiology of emotional memory and disorders like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The neural circuitry engaged in this model is well described and very similar to humans and rodents. In clinical treatment, the most common strategy to treat these disorders are based in fear extinction principles (exposure therapies). However, due to the very nature of extinction, which is a new learning and does not alter the original learning, it allows the spontaneous return of fear responses (with passage of time, in this case, pathologic symptoms. This oftenly results in a lack of treatment efficacy. A potential strategy to be applied in clinics is the active coping, in other words, the active pursuit of control over the stressor agents. Studies in rodents about neurobiology of stress and motivation explored parts of the circuitry engaged in the complex learning. And recent studies showed that after this learning, there is no sign of return of fear reponses. Aiming to investigate in a broader manner the neural circuitry involved in this learning in humans and its clinical advantages, this study proposes to verify the effect of this learned active controlability over stressors in the return of conditioned fear responses, and analyze the functional connectivity of brain activity measured by BOLD signal of functional magnetic resonance imaging during the task (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DUNSMOOR, JOSEPH E.; KUBOTA, JENNIFER T.; LI, JIAN; COELHO, CESAR A. O.; PHELPS, ELIZABETH A.. Racial stereotypes impair flexibility of emotional learning. SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE, v. 11, n. 9, p. 1363-1373, . (13/10907-3)

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