ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (6): 587-602.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00587

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


李俊娇1, 陈伟2,3,4, 胡琰健5, 曹杨婧文6, 郑希付2,3,4()   

  1. 1广东第二师范学院教师教育学院, 广州 510303
    3华南师范大学心理应用研究中心, 广州 510631
    4广东省心理健康与认知科学重点实验室, 广州 510631
    5东莞市东莞中学, 东莞 523120
    6西安外国语大学学生心理健康教育中心, 西安 710128
  • 收稿日期:2020-02-27 发布日期:2021-04-25
  • 通讯作者: 郑希付
  • 基金资助:
    国家自然科学基金项目(32000752);国家自然科学基金项目(31771218);国家自然科学基金项目(31970996);教育部人文社会科学研究项目(20YJC190009);广东省哲学社会科学规划项目(GD19YXL01);幸福广州心理服务与辅导基地, 广东省普通高校哲学社会科学重点实验室(2020WSYS002)

Effects of prediction error and acute stress on retrieval-extinction of fear memories of different strengths

LI Junjiao1, CHEN Wei2,3,4, HU Yanjian5, CAOYANG Jingwen6, ZHENG Xifu2,3,4()   

  1. 1College of Teacher Education, Guangdong University of Education, Guangzhou 510303, China
    2School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    3Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    4Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, Guangzhou 510631, China
    5Dongguan Middle School, Dongguan 523120, China
    6Student Mental Health Education Center, Xi'an International Studies University, Xi'an 710128, China
  • Received:2020-02-27 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: ZHENG Xifu


在条件性恐惧记忆再巩固模型下, 预期错误被证明是引发记忆不稳定的必要条件, 但其在不同强度恐惧记忆下的作用尚不明确。对于高强度可能导致的提取无效, 缺乏相应的探索以寻找解决办法, 而应激(stress)在其中发挥的作用值得探索。本研究考察人类被试中, 预期错误在不同强度恐惧记忆下的作用, 以及提取之后施加外源性应激对于消退进程的影响。结果发现, 对于较弱的恐惧记忆, 单个预期错误提取后消退可显著抑制恐惧自发恢复; 而对于较强恐惧记忆, 单个预期错误不能提取恐惧记忆进入再巩固, 已消退的记忆还会复发; 且在该种情况下, 如果在提取后施加外源性急性应激, 会进一步增大恐惧恢复。

关键词: 条件性恐惧, 提取消退, 预期错误, 急性应激, 记忆强度


Under the framework of Reconsolidation Interference of conditioned fear memory, Prediction Error (PE) has been demonstrated as a necessary condition of memory destabilization. However, the role of PE in destabilizing fear memories of different strengths is unclear. The degree of PE that is needed to effectively reactivate fear memories may be dependent on the strength of memory. It is unknown whether the PE used to reactivate weak memories is also effective in destabilizing stronger memories. Memory strength was proved to be an important boundary condition of memory reconsolidation; however, explorations of solutions to overcome the boundary are rare. Among factors that are possible to help to overcome the boundary condition, the effects of stress hormones are worth exploring. However, the manipulation of memory strength in human laboratory studies has not been well developed. Thus, the present study has three main aims: (1) to test the effect of fear memory strength in a human laboratory setting based on previous results in animal studies; (2) to examine the effect of PE during reactivation on destabilizing different strength memories and (3) to test the possible influence of post-reactivation exogenous stress to the retrieval-extinction of fear memories.

These results indicate that PE used to destabilize weak memories is insufficient to destabilize strong memories; and that post-reactivation acute stress cannot nullify this deficit which is due to boundary conditions (e.g., strength). We discuss possible interpretations of these results and the implications for the translation of retrieval-extinction to clinical practice.

The three days retrieval-extinction paradigm was adopted in the present study. We manipulated memory strength through two kinds of acquisition procedures on the first day, which varied the predictability of the unconditioned stimulus (US) occurrence after the conditioned stimulus (CS). Twenty-four hours later, a reminder containing a single PE was used to reactivate memories, which was followed by a stress task (Social Evaluate Cold Pressor test, SECPT) or not before extinction. After 24 hours, a test of spontaneous recovery and reinstatement was utilized to measure the return of fear in each condition. All participants were divided into three conditions: CS-Predictable US_no Stress Group, CS-Unpredictable US_no Stress Group and the CS-Unpredictable US_Stress Group. Skin conductance response (SCR) and fear-potentiated startle response (FPS) were used as measurements of conditioned fear.

The results showed that there was a relatively stronger increase in fear response (SCR) from Day 1 to Day 2 in the CS-Unpredictable US condition than the CS-Predictable US condition, which may suggest a difference in memory strength between conditions. And for the weak fear memory (CS-predictable US), the reactivation that involved a single PE and was followed by extinction training prevented the spontaneous recovery, especially on the SCR measurement. On the other hand, in the enhanced memory condition (CS-unpredictable US), the extinguished memory returned in the memory test on the third day, which suggests a failure of memory destabilization. Furthermore, when the post-reactivation acute stress task was adopted in the enhanced memory condition, the return of fear further increased, compared with the no stress manipulation conditions.

Key words: conditioned fear, retrieval-extinction, prediction error, acute stress, memory strength