Coming to terms with fear

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The brain mechanisms of fear have been studied extensively using Pavlovian fear conditioning, a procedure that allows exploration of how the brain learns about and later detects and responds to threats. However, mechanisms that detect and respond to threats are not the same as those that give rise to conscious fear. This is an important distinction because symptoms based on conscious and nonconscious processes may be vulnerable to different predisposing factors and may also be treatable with different approaches in people who suffer from uncontrolled fear or anxiety. A conception of so-called fear conditioning in terms of circuits that operate nonconsciously, but that indirectly contribute to conscious fear, is proposed as way forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2871-2878
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 25 2014


  • Consciousness
  • Emotion
  • Global organismic states
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Survival circuits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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