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Intolerance of uncertainty and novelty facilitated extinction: the impact of reinforcement schedule

Wake, S., Dodd, H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1446-5338 and Morriss, J. (2021) Intolerance of uncertainty and novelty facilitated extinction: the impact of reinforcement schedule. British Journal of Psychology. ISSN 0007-1269

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12538

Abstract/Summary

Individuals who score high in Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) display reduced threat extinction. Recently, it was shown that replacing threat associations with novel associations during extinction learning (i.e. presenting a novel tone 100% of the time) can promote threat extinction retention in individuals with high IU. This novelty facilitated extinction (NFE) effect could be driven by the tone’s novelty or reliability. Here we sought to address this question by adjusting the reliability of the novel tone (i.e., the reinforcement rate) during NFE. We measured skin conductance response during an associative learning task in which participants (n = 92) were assigned to one of three experimental groups: standard extinction, NFE 100% reinforcement or NFE 50% reinforcement. For standard extinction, compared to NFE 100% and 50% reinforcement groups, we observed a trend for greater recovery of the conditioned response during extinction retention. Individuals with high IU relative to low IU in the standard extinction group demonstrated a larger recovery of the conditioned response during extinction retention. These findings tentatively suggest that NFE effects are driven by the novelty rather than the reliability of the new stimulus. The implications of these findings for translational and clinical research in anxiety disorder pathology are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:100922
Publisher:British Psychological Society

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