Implicit threat learning involves the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum

Charlene L.M. LAM, Ho Yin Clive WONG, Markus JUNGHÖFER, Kati ROESMANN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Background/Objective: Most studies investigating the neural correlates of threat learning were carried out using an explicit Pavlovian conditioning paradigm where declarative knowledge on contingencies between conditioned (CS) and unconditioned stimuli (US) is acquired. The current study aimed at understanding the neural correlates of threat conditioning when contingency awareness is limited or even absent. 

Method: We conducted an fMRI report of threat learning in an implicit associative learning paradigm called multi-CS conditioning, in which a number of faces were associated with aversive screams (US) such that participants could not report contingencies between the faces and the screams. 

Results: The univariate results showed support for the recruitment of threat-related regions including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the cerebellum during acquisition. Further analyses by the multivariate representational similarity technique identified learning-dependent changes in the bilateral dlPFC. 

Conclusion: Our findings support the involvement of the dlPFC and the cerebellum in threat conditioning that occurs with highly limited or even absent contingency awareness. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100357
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online dateNov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 2022

Citation

Lam, C. L. M., Wong, C. H. Y., Junghöfer, M., & Roesmann, K. (2023). Implicit threat learning involves the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 23(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2022.100357

Keywords

  • Implicit
  • Fear conditioning
  • Cerebellum
  • Contingency awareness
  • Multi-CS conditioning

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