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  Examining Differences in Fear Learning in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder With Pupillometry, Startle Electromyography and Skin Conductance Responses

Poehlchen, D., Priouret, M., Kraft, M., Binder, F. P., Guersel, D. A., Berberich, G., et al. (2021). Examining Differences in Fear Learning in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder With Pupillometry, Startle Electromyography and Skin Conductance Responses. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHIATRY, 12: 730742. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.730742.

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 Creators:
Poehlchen, Dorothee1, 2, Author           
Priouret, Marthe1, Author           
Kraft, Miriam1, Author           
Binder, Florian P.1, 2, Author           
Guersel, Deniz A., Author
Berberich, Goetz, Author
Koch, Kathrin, Author
Spoormaker, Victor I.1, Author           
Affiliations:
1Dept. Translational Research in Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society, ou_2035295              
2IMPRS Translational Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society, ou_3318616              

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 Abstract: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, persistent thoughts and repetitive behaviors causing stress and anxiety. In the associative learning model of OCD, mechanisms of fear extinction are supposed to partly underlie symptom development, maintenance and treatment of OCD, proposing that OCD patients suffer from rigid memory associations and inhibitory learning deficits. To test these assumptions, previous studies have used skin conductance and subjective ratings as readouts in fear conditioning paradigms, finding impaired fear extinction learning, impaired fear extinction recall or no differences between individuals with OCD and healthy controls. Against this heterogeneous background, we tested fear acquisition and extinction in 37 OCD patients and 56 healthy controls, employing skin conductance as well as pupillometry and startle electromyography. Extinction recall was also included in a subsample. We did not observe differences between groups in any of the task phases, except a trend toward higher startle amplitudes during extinction for OCD. Overall, sensitive readouts such as pupillometry and startle responses did not provide evidence for moderate-to-large inhibitory learning deficits using classical fear conditioning, challenging the assumption of generically impaired extinction learning and memory in OCD.</p>

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 Dates: 2021
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: ISI: 000708975800001
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.730742
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Title: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHIATRY
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 Sequence Number: 730742 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-0640