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Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces

Mallan, Kimberley M., Sax, James, & Lipp, Ottmar V. (2009) Verbal instruction abolishes fear conditioned to racial out-group faces. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(6), pp. 1303-1307.

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        Abstract

        Previous research has shown resistance to extinction of fear conditioned to racial out-group faces, suggesting that these stimuli may be subject to prepared fear learning. The current study replicated and extended previous research by using a different racial out-group, and testing the prediction that prepared fear learning is unaffected by verbal instructions. Four groups of Caucasian participants were trained with male in-group (Caucasian) or out-group (Chinese) faces as conditional stimuli; one paired with an electro-tactile shock (CS+) and one presented alone (CS). Before extinction, half the participants were instructed that no more shocks would be presented. Fear conditioning, indexed by larger electrodermal responses to, and blink startle modulation during the CS+, occurred during acquisition in all groups. Resistance to extinction of fear learning was found only in the racial out-group, no instruction condition. Fear conditioned to a racial out-group face was reduced following verbal instructions, contrary to predictions for the nature of prepared fear learning.

        Impact and interest:

        7 citations in Scopus
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        6 citations in Web of Science®

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        ID Code: 48670
        Item Type: Journal Article
        Keywords: race , fear learning, psychophysiology, skin conductance, eyeblink startle
        DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.08.001
        ISSN: 00221031
        Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
        Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
        Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
        Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
        Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
        Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Elsevier.
        Deposited On: 16 Feb 2012 15:24
        Last Modified: 23 Jul 2014 15:24

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