International Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
At the beginning of the twentieth century Freud and Pavlov made complementary theoretical splits in their observational field. This splitting initiated a dialectical interaction that tended to polarize the Freudian mental world of insight and the psyche against the Pavlovian outer world of learning theories and the soma. The 1950s saw an exaggerated polarization between strict behaviorists and "classical" psychoanalysts. The linkage of ideas of therapeutic action with metapsychology also dates from Freud and is briefly illustrated.
In anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorders and phobias, classical conditioning pairs natural (unconditioned) fear-eliciting stimuli with contextual or discrete cues resulting in enduring fear responses to multiple stimuli. Extinction is an active learning process that results in a reduction of conditioned fear responses after conditioned stimuli are no longer paired with unconditioned stimuli. Fear extinction often produces incomplete effects and this highlights the relative permanence of bonds between conditioned stimuli and conditioned fear responses.
One of the exceptional properties of the brain is its ability to acquire new knowledge through learning and to store that information through memory. The epigenetic mechanisms linking changes in neuronal transcriptional programs to behavioral plasticity remain largely unknown. Here, we identify the epigenetic signature of the neuronal enhancers required for transcriptional regulation of synaptic plasticity genes during memory formation, linking this to Reelin signaling.
Evaluative conditioning (EC) refers to valence changes of initially neutral stimuli (CSs) through repeated pairings with positive or negative stimuli (USs). The current study is about the moderating role of qualifiers that specify the CS-US relation during these pairings. We show successful EC with pictures of men (CSs) and of liked/disliked animals or landscapes (USs). More importantly, the same pairings resulted in standard and reversed EC effects depending on semantic qualifier of the CS-US relation.
Conditioning of fear reactions to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with a footshock unconditioned stimulus (US) involves CS transmission to the amygdala from the auditory thalamus, the auditory cortex, or both. This article presents a simple neural network model of this neural system. The model consists of modules of mutually inhibitory nonlinear units representing the different relevant anatomical structures of the thalamo-amygdala and thalamo-corticoamygdala circuitry.