ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (10): 1082-1093.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.01082

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


陈伟1, 林小裔1, 李俊娇2, 张文曦1, 孙楠3(), 郑希付1()   

  1. 1华南师范大学大脑、认知与教育科学教育部重点实验室; 华南师范大学心理学院; 华南师范大学心理应用研究中心, 广东省心理健康与认知科学重点实验室, 广州 510631
    2广东第二师范学院教师教育学院, 广州 510303
    3广州大学教育学院(师范学院), 广州 510650
  • 收稿日期:2021-01-20 发布日期:2021-08-23 出版日期:2021-10-25
  • 通讯作者: 孙楠,郑希付;
  • 基金资助:

Gender difference in retrieval-extinction of conditioned fear memory

CHEN Wei1, LIN Xiaoyi1, LI Junjiao2, ZHANG Wenxi1, SUN Nan3(), ZHENG Xifu1()   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Brain, Cognition and Education Sciences, Ministry of Education, China; School of Psychology, Center for Studies of Psychological Application, and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2College of Teacher Education, Guangdong University of Education, Guangzhou 510303, China
    3School of Education (Teachers College), Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510650, China
  • Received:2021-01-20 Online:2021-08-23 Published:2021-10-25
  • Contact: SUN Nan,ZHENG Xifu;


基于记忆再巩固理论的提取消退范式能够有效地削弱非适应性恐惧记忆。性别差异是个体差异性研究的关键变量, 但在提取消退范式的研究中仍然比较少见关于性别差异的探索。因此本研究以立体几何图形作为条件刺激, 腕部电击作为非条件刺激, 皮肤电反应为恐惧反应指标, 探究提取消退范式在恐惧消退效果上是否存在性别差异。结果表明, 在恐惧自发恢复测试中, 提取消退范式的所有被试都成功抑制了恐惧复发, 但恐惧重建测试中只有女性被试抑制了恐惧复发。这说明, 提取消退范式在抑制恐惧自发恢复方面效果显著, 在恐惧重建上女性的消退效果显著优于男性。

关键词: 条件性恐惧, 恐惧消退, 提取-消退, 性别差异


For nearly half a century, the memory reconsolidation theory, which believes that even memories that have been consolidated would be reactivated during the retrieval process and temporarily return to an unstable state, has been continuously developed. Based on this understanding, the researchers proposed the retrieval-extinction paradigm. That is, after successfully learning the pairing rule between a conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US), the original memory was un-stabilized by presenting a single CS, and then traditional extinction training was performed. This paradigm has been proven in some studies to weaken the expression of non-adaptive fear memory effectively.
However, other studies have reached different results, indicating that this paradigm failed to suppress the fear recovery. Current research mainly focused on the boundary conditions of memory conditions and retrieval conditions to explain the difference between studies, such as prediction error, acquisition time, the intensity of acquisition, and individual differences. Gender difference, as an essential variable of individual differences, is an influential factor in the study of boundary conditions. In the standard extinction paradigm, research has concluded that women easily acquire fear memory but that such fear memory is more difficult to extinct than that in men. However, it is relatively rare to explore gender differences in the research of the retrieval-extinction paradigm. Therefore, this study considered gender as a variable, using geometric figures as CS, wrist electric shock as the US, and skin conductance response as an indicator of fear response, to explore whether there is a gender difference in the fear extinction effect.
The results showed no gender difference in the spontaneous fear recovery of the retrieval-extinction paradigm because all subjects successfully suppressed the spontaneous fear recovery. Nevertheless, there was a significant gender difference in the reinstatement test, in which men showed increased skin conductance responses (SCR), whereas women did not show any increased SCR. Besides, there were gender differences in the spontaneous fear recovery and reinstatement test of the standard extinction paradigm. After training by this paradigm, women showed increased SCR in spontaneously fear recovery and a tendency to fear generalization. In contrast, men showed suppressed spontaneous fear recovery but showed increased SCR in the reinstatement test.
Our study proved a gender difference in the extinction effect of the retrieval-extinction paradigm (women showed the best extinction effect) and verified that the extinction effect of the retrieval-extinction paradigm was better than that of the standard extinction paradigm. From the results, we could demonstrate that the retrieval-extinction paradigm is an effective intervention method, especially for women. It will be beneficial to further verify evidence about the effectiveness of the retrieval-extinction paradigm and clarify its object and scope in clinical applications. Our study suggests that the retrieval-extinction paradigm in clinical transformation needs to provide more personalized treatment plans for male and female patients, thus improving clinical applicability and treatment effectiveness.

Key words: conditioned fear, fear extinction, retrieval-extinction, gender difference