Open Access, Peer-reviewed

ISSN 2005-7571 (Online)
Volume 28, Number 2 (2/2021)
Review Article <page. 23-35 >
DOI : 10.22857/kjbp.2021.28.2.001

A Review of Brain Imaging Studies on Classical Fear Conditioning and Extinction in Healthy Adults

Ilhyang Kang, PhD1;Chaewon Suh, BS1,2;Sujung Yoon, MD1,2; and Jungyoon Kim, MD1,2;

1;Ewha Brain Institute and 2;Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Fear conditioning and extinction, which are adaptive processes to learn and avoid potential threats, have essential roles in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. Experimental fear conditioning and extinction have been used to identify the mechanism of fear and anxiety in humans. However, the brain-based mechanisms of fear conditioning and extinction are yet to be established. In the current review, we summarized the results of neuroimaging studies that examined the brain changes-functional activity and structures-regarding fear conditioning or extinction in healthy individuals. The functional activity of the amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate gyrus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus changed dynamically with both fear conditioning and extinction. This review may provide an up-to-date summary that may broaden our understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of anxiety disorder. In addition, the brain regions that are involved in the fear conditioning and extinction may be considered as potential treatment targets in the future studies.


Key words : Fear conditioning;Fear extinction;Functional magnetic resonance imaging;Functional activity;Amygdala.

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