Psychological Research

, Volume 83, Issue 7, pp 1340–1348 | Cite as

Is it possible to modify fear memories in humans with extinction training within a single day?

  • Jaime RedondoEmail author
  • Jose Fernandez-Rey
  • Daniel Gonzalez-Gonzalez
Original Article


Extinction procedures have been used widely in the study of fear memories, and different positions have been adopted regarding the efficacy of such procedures and the mechanisms involved. It has been argued that extinction may interfere with the consolidation of the fear memory if the procedure is applied with the appropriate timing after acquisition. However, the opposite position is also held, that is, that the extinction does not achieve an elimination of the fear response. The aim of the present study is to test the short-term effects of immediate extinction in fear reduction when this extinction is preceded by a retrieval trial. For this, a procedure similar to that employed by Schiller et al. (Nature 463(7277): 49–53, 2010) was used, but in a single day and with white noise as an aversive unconditioned stimulus. The results indicate that a CS+ single retrieval trial before the extinction procedure after acquisition was more effective in fear reduction than standard immediate extinction.



This study was supported by the Autonomous Government of Galicia (Grant GRC2015/006).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaime Redondo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jose Fernandez-Rey
    • 1
  • Daniel Gonzalez-Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognitive Processes and Behavior Lab, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of Santiago de Compostela,SantiagoSpain

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