New preprint I

New preprint on different skin conductance response quantification approaches.

Happy to announce a new pre-print with former post-doc Manuel Kuhn and collaborator Anna Gerlicher looking into the question how much different skin conductance response quantification approaches used impact on replicability. Tina recently presented a virtual poster on the results which you can watch here or have a look at the preprint

Congratulations Sabrina!

Sabrina submitted her thesis in which she did a stellar job on directly cmparing different SCR quantification approaches based on a systematic literature search – focusing on trough-to-peak scoring and baseline correction approaches. It was a pleasure working with Sabrina and the lab wishes her all the best for her PhD project!

New DFG grant!

The lab has been awarded a new DFG grant to continue our methods-focused work in the field of fear conditioning research – with a focus on different approaches to quantify skin conductance responses and an empirical investigation of implicit assumptions that underly a number of procedures in our work. The 3-year project will employ a combination of data re-analyses and new data acquisition which will be conducted by a post-doctoral researcher. Looking forward to this project!

Virtual welcome Shereen

Shereen Abdelnabi a master student in the ‘Mind and Brain’ program from the Humbold University in Berlin has joined the team as a research intern. Shereen will mainly work with Alina on data analysis and visualization in R.

Welcome Shereen!

New poster from the lab

The European Meeting on Human Fear Conditioning has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless the lab is proud that Alex put together a poster on his newly developed approach-avoidance paradigm in Virtual Reality – which is still in a pilot phase. The poster can be found on the OSF meeting page along with (a small) number of other posters. Well done, Alex!

(Virtual) welcome to Vincent

What a strange time to welcome our new full-time intern Vincent (middle, center) to the lab in the middle of the COVID-19 shut-down. The internship will be a bit different from what we initially planned but we will give our best! Happy to have you joining the lab and hoping to meet you in person during your stay (end of August)! Virtual welcome!

New work out on procedural considerations in human reinstatement

Experimental paradigms used to study reinstatement of fear in humans are characterized by procedural heterogeneity. Reinstatement protocols involve unexpected (re)presentations of the unconditioned stimulus (USs)after fear extinction training. Here, we address the number ofreinstatement USs administered as a potential boundary condition that may explain divergent findings in the field. A sample of 171 participants is exposed to a fear acquisition training, immediate
extinction training, and reinstatement test experiment. Three groups
differing in the number of reinstatement US are employed: one (n = 57)
or four (n = 55) in experimental groups and zero (n = 59) in the control
group. We adopt Bayesian statistical approaches beyond classical null
hypothesis significance testing (NHST) to qualify evidence for or
against this potential methodological boundary condition in
reinstatement-induced return of fear. Startle potentiation to the
reinstatement administration context was increased for the RI–USone
compared to the RI–USzero group, supporting the role of context
conditioning in reinstatement. This effect was weaker in the RI–USfour
group. This, however, did not transfer to responding to conditioned
stimuli during the return of fear-test: no evidence for an effect of the
number of reinstatement USs (zero, one, four) was observed in
behavioral or physiological measures. In sum, our results speak against the number of reinstatement USs as a potential boundary condition in experimentally induced return of fear in humans. This may challenge what we think we know about the reinstatement phenomenon in humans and call for critical reconsideration of paradigms as well as mechanisms that may underlie some reinstatement effects in the literature.