Very Brief Exposure to Phobic Stimuli Beneficial in Therapy

Share this content:
Very Brief Exposure to Phobic Stimuli Beneficial in Therapy
Very Brief Exposure to Phobic Stimuli Beneficial in Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to phobic images without conscious awareness may be more effective than longer, conscious exposure for reducing fear, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in Human Brain Mapping.

Paul Siegel, Ph.D., from Purchase College at SUNY in New York, and colleagues examined the neural basis for the adaptive effects of masked exposure in a study involving 21 spider-phobic and 21 control participants. Participants viewed stimuli in three conditions: very brief exposure (VBE) to masked images of spiders, with severely limited awareness; clearly visible exposure (CVE) to spiders, with full awareness; and masked images of flowers (control), with severely limited awareness.

The researchers found that VBE to spiders generated neural activity within subcortical fear, attention, higher-order language, and vision systems more strongly in phobic than control participants. In phobic participants, VBE activated regions that support fear processing without causing them to experience fear consciously. CVE to the same spiders generated stronger neural activity in control versus phobic participants. CVE-deactivated regions supported regulation of fear and caused an experience of fear among phobic participants. There were correlations for CVE-induced activations with measures of explicit fear ratings, while VBE-induced activations were associated with measures of implicit fear.

"These multiple dissociations between the effects of VBE and CVE to spiders suggest that limiting awareness of exposure to phobic stimuli through visual masking paradoxically facilitates their processing, while simultaneously minimizing the experience of fear," the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Share this content:

is free, fast, and customized just for you!

Already a member?

Sign In Now »

Drug Lookup

Browse drugs by: BrandGenericDisease

Trending Activities

All Professions



Sign up for myCME e-newsletters


More in Home

Pharmacists Should Counsel Patients Fasting for Ramadan

Pharmacists Should Counsel Patients Fasting for Ramadan

Pharmacists can suggest adjustments for meds taken several times per day, those affected by food intake

AUA: Many Have Unused Opioids After Urologic Procedures

AUA: Many Have Unused Opioids After Urologic Procedures

Patients use just over half of initial prescription; highest percentage of unused meds for cystectomy

Over Half of Young Adult Smoke Volume Exposure From Hookahs

Over Half of Young Adult Smoke Volume Exposure ...

Toxicant exposure to tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine lower, but still substantial, compared to cigarettes

is free, fast, and customized just for you!

Already a member?

Sign In Now »