Fear Extinction

2006, David J. Zielinski Rachael Brady Nicole Huff, Jose A. Alba Hernandez

Return of fear following cognitive behavioral therapy is problematic for the treatment of anxiety. Specifically, cessation of anxiety appears to be specific to the context in which therapeutic intervention is conducted. The goal of this research is to better understand how the environmental context influences fear memory recall. The DiVE is used to provide three different fully immersive virtual environments in which healthy participants undergo fear acquisition, fear extinction, and finally fear renewal testing across three discrete sessions over three days. Skin conductance is used as the dependent measure of fear and emotional arousal through out the study. The research has yielded insight into how healthy humans retain and recall emotional memories as a function of the context. Moreover, this novel investigation demonstrates the effectiveness of full immersion VR as a tool for conducting informative affective cognitive research.