Methods for developmental studies of fear conditioning circuitry

Daniel S. Pine, Abby Fyer, Joseph Grun, Elizabeth A. Phelps, Philip R. Szeszko, Vivian Koda, Wei Li, Babak Ardekani, Eleanor A. Maguire, Neil Burgess, Robert M. Bilder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Psychophysiologic studies use air puff as an aversive stimulus to document abnormal fear conditioning in children of parents with anxiety disorders. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine changes in amygdala activity during air-puff conditioning among adults. Blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal was monitored in seven adults during 16 alternating presentations of two different colored lights (CS+ vs. CS-), one of which was consistently paired with an aversive air puff. A region-of-interest analysis demonstrated differential change in BOLD signal in the right but not left amygdala across CS+ versus CS- viewing. The amygdala is engaged by pairing of a light with an air puff. Given that prior studies relate air-puff conditioning to risk for anxiety in children, these methods may provide an avenue for directly studying the developmental neurobiology of fear conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-228
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2001


  • Anxiety
  • Development
  • FMRI
  • Fear conditioning
  • Neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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