Einladung zum Kolloquium

Dear all,

We would like to invite you to the next Cognition, Emotion and Behavior colloquium by Prof. Marta Andreatta (University of Würzburg, Department of Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy) on Wednesday (July 19th) at 16:00. Please find the title, abstract, and information about the venue below. We are looking forward to seeing you at our colloquium. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,
Vanessa Mitschke

Venue: GEMI, Room 1.140

Title: Unpredictable threat and generalization mechanisms

Abstract: Anxiety disorders (AD) are the second most prevalent mental disorders after depressive disorders. Patients with AD are characterized by exaggerated defensive responses to cues and situations, which are safe (i.e., never associated with a threat) but share physical or semantic properties with stimuli previously associated with a threat. If in some situations the threats can be reliably predicted by means of signals, in some other situations it remains unpredictable. Context conditioning is a simple laboratory paradigm to investigate the underlying mechanisms as well as the defensive responses to unpredictable threats. In this talk, I will present four studies in which we used virtual reality (VR) to understand the underlying behavioral (Study1) and neuronal (Study2) reactions elicited by a threatening context in healthy individuals. Moreover, I will demonstrate generalization mechanisms of conditioned anxiety and how risk factors for anxiety disorders such as anxious personality traits (Study3) and panic attacks (Study4) may modulate the conditioned defensive responses. Taking together these studies support the distinction between fear and anxiety responses and how distinctly anxiety-like traits are sensitive to these mechanisms.