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Modeling fear-conditioned bradycardia in humans

Castegnetti, G; Tzovara, A; Staib, M; Paulus, PC; Hofer, N; Bach, DR; (2016) Modeling fear-conditioned bradycardia in humans. Psychophysiology , 53 (6) pp. 930-939. 10.1111/psyp.12637. Green open access

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Abstract

Across species, cued fear conditioning is a common experimental paradigm to investigate aversive Pavlovian learning. While fear-conditioned stimuli (CS+) elicit overt behavior in many mammals, this is not the case in humans. Typically, autonomic nervous system activity is used to quantify fear memory in humans, measured by skin conductance responses (SCR). Here, we investigate whether heart period responses (HPR) evoked by the CS, often observed in humans and small mammals, are suitable to complement SCR as an index of fear memory in humans. We analyze four datasets involving delay and trace conditioning, in which heart beats are identified via electrocardiogram or pulse oximetry, to show that fear-conditioned heart rate deceleration (bradycardia) is elicited and robustly distinguishes CS+ from CS-. We then develop a psychophysiological model (PsPM) of fear-conditioned HPR. This PsPM is inverted to yield estimates of autonomic input into the heart. We show that the sensitivity to distinguish CS+ and CS- (predictive validity) is higher for model-based estimates than peak-scoring analysis, and compare this with SCR. Our work provides a novel tool to investigate fear memory in humans that allows direct comparison between species.

Type: Article
Title: Modeling fear-conditioned bradycardia in humans
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12637
Publisher version: http://dx.dpo.org/10.1111/psyp.12637
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. Psychophysiology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Psychophysiological Research. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Keywords: Delay conditioning, Heart period, Psychophysiological model, Skin conductance, Trace conditioning
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1483235
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