Generalization of Conditioned Fear and Obsessive-Compulsive Traits
Antonia N Kaczkurkin and Shmuel Lissek*
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA
- Corresponding Author:
- Shmuel Lissek
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: June 07, 2013; Accepted date: July 12, 2013; Published date: July 22, 2013
Citation: Kaczkurkin AN, Lissek S (2013) Generalization of Conditioned Fear and Obsessive-Compulsive Traits. J Psychol Psychother S7:003. doi:10.4172/2161-0487.S7-003
Copyright: © 2013 Kaczkurkin AN et al., This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Generalization of conditioned fear refers to the transfer of the conditioned fear response to stimuli that resemble the original conditioned stimulus. Overgeneralization of conditioned fear has been associated with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and may be relevant to obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms as well. This study represents the first attempt to determine the degree to which individuals with high versus low OC traits over generalize conditioned fear. We hypothesized that the high OC individuals, particularly those characterized by overestimation of threat, would show overgeneralization of conditioned fear compared to controls as measured by behavioral and psychophysiological (fear-potentiated startle) measures. The results of this study show an interaction between the high and low Threat Estimation groups as measured by the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire, which suggests that those who have a tendency to overestimate threat show overgeneralization of conditioned fear. This finding suggests that the relation between OC symptoms and overgeneralization of conditioned fear may be specific to the high threat estimation component of OC symptoms.