Our comprehensive review on the bi-directional relationship between conditioned fear and avoidance is now available. It covers mechanisms, moderators, and clinical implications oft he distinction between defensive reactions, goal-directed actions, and habitual avoidance. Check out the open-access paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103550
Using a novel paradigm adapted from discounting decision research, we show that high anxious individuals show more avoidance behavior in presence of high competing rewards, but not low competing rewards. See: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2019.101524
Alex first paper from his work at our lab shows that categorical fear generalization triggers costly avoidance responses. Check out his great work: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103606
Andre received this year's teaching award Best seminar for his seminar on the theoretical basics and clinical application exposure therapy. He feels very honored and thanks all students for their great interest and contributions!
Valentina got awarded for her poster presentation of her project "Conflicts between habitual avoidance and goal-directed approach behaviour" at EMHFC 2019. Juliane and Alex also gave great presentation on their projects on "Temporal dynamics of costly avoidance in newly acquired fears" and "The generalization of costly avoidance in a fear context". Congratulations!
Paula Engelke joined our team as a doctoral student. Her research focuses on strategies to enhance the generalization for extinction and their clinical implications for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Maladaptive safety behavior maintains fear and anxiety by prohibiting inhibitory learning about the non-occurrence of feared outcomes (known as protection from extinction). Not engaging in safety behavior, however, requires to act opposite to fear-motivated behavioral tendencies. In our new paper, we demonstrate that safety behavior is frequently executed, persists even in absence of an aversive outcome, and prohibits extinction learning. However, positive outcomes, which are in conflict with performing safety behavior, reduced safety behavior despite equal levels of acquired fear. This fear-opposite action enabls fear extinction and thereby prevents protection from extinction. Open preprint and data here: https://osf.io/e7ghz/