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Drugs, sweat and fears: a comparison of the effects of diazepam and methylphenidate on fear conditioning.

Drugs, sweat and fears: a comparison of the effects of diazepam and methylphenidate on fear conditioning.
Drugs, sweat and fears: a comparison of the effects of diazepam and methylphenidate on fear conditioning.
Rationale Classical conditioning of a fear response involves the formation of an association between a stimulus and an emotional response and can be seen as a basic form of emotional memory. While both benzodiazepines and stimulant drugs may influence the formation of episodic memories for emotional events, their effects on fear conditioning are less clear.
Objectives This study compared the effects of diazepam with methylphenidate on fear conditioning.
Materials and methods In a single-session between groups design with three conditions [placebo, diazepam (10 mg), and methylphenidate (40 mg)], classical conditioning of a skin conductance response to a visual stimulus previously paired with a 100-db white noise was tested in 45 healthy volunteers.
Results Diazepam blocked fear conditioning, despite responses to the unconditioned aversive stimulus and neutral control stimulus being unimpaired. Conditioning remained intact after methylphenidate. Conditioned responses were not extinguished completely by the end of the experiment, and it was not possible to draw conclusions about the effects of the drugs on extinction.
Conclusions Although diazepam has well-documented amnesic effects, it has not been found to affect implicit forms of memory like perceptual and conceptual priming. As the present study found impaired fear conditioning after diazepam, it adds weight to recent findings that emotional memories are disproportionately impaired by the benzodiazepines.
diazepam, methylphenidate, fear conditioning, human, emotional memory, skin conductance
0033-3158
504-516
Brignell, Catherine M.
ec44ecae-8687-4bbb-bc81-8c2c8f27febd
Curran, H. Valerie
0bbd99ae-0f3a-4566-947f-54d1b09cab41
Brignell, Catherine M.
ec44ecae-8687-4bbb-bc81-8c2c8f27febd
Curran, H. Valerie
0bbd99ae-0f3a-4566-947f-54d1b09cab41

Brignell, Catherine M. and Curran, H. Valerie (2006) Drugs, sweat and fears: a comparison of the effects of diazepam and methylphenidate on fear conditioning. Psychopharmacology, 186 (4), 504-516. (doi:10.1007/s00213-006-0363-x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rationale Classical conditioning of a fear response involves the formation of an association between a stimulus and an emotional response and can be seen as a basic form of emotional memory. While both benzodiazepines and stimulant drugs may influence the formation of episodic memories for emotional events, their effects on fear conditioning are less clear.
Objectives This study compared the effects of diazepam with methylphenidate on fear conditioning.
Materials and methods In a single-session between groups design with three conditions [placebo, diazepam (10 mg), and methylphenidate (40 mg)], classical conditioning of a skin conductance response to a visual stimulus previously paired with a 100-db white noise was tested in 45 healthy volunteers.
Results Diazepam blocked fear conditioning, despite responses to the unconditioned aversive stimulus and neutral control stimulus being unimpaired. Conditioning remained intact after methylphenidate. Conditioned responses were not extinguished completely by the end of the experiment, and it was not possible to draw conclusions about the effects of the drugs on extinction.
Conclusions Although diazepam has well-documented amnesic effects, it has not been found to affect implicit forms of memory like perceptual and conceptual priming. As the present study found impaired fear conditioning after diazepam, it adds weight to recent findings that emotional memories are disproportionately impaired by the benzodiazepines.

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More information

Published date: 2006
Keywords: diazepam, methylphenidate, fear conditioning, human, emotional memory, skin conductance

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 46253
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/46253
ISSN: 0033-3158
PURE UUID: d5a3fec3-635e-442b-8407-f65c46091d26

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Date deposited: 08 Jun 2007
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 21:03

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