Skin Conductance Responses During Extinction Recall and Fear Renewal with PTSD or Fibromyalgia – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Skin Conductance Responses During Extinction Recall and Fear Renewal with PTSD or Fibromyalgia

Ashley Laplant

Ashley Laplant

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Duval, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 12
Presenter: 5

Event Link


Previous studies on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Fibromyalgia (FM) showed changes in extinction retention and fear renewal that could be recorded through skin conductance responses (SCR). Extinction retention and fear renewal are two cognitive processes that are essential for one to understand what they should fear and what they should not fear based on their surroundings. With this information, this study uses SCR to better understand the deficits in context processing that are a result of these stress-related disorders. Individuals with either PTSD or FM are being recruited to participate in the study; individuals with no stress-related disorders are also being recruited as healthy controls. On the first day, participants will undergo fear conditioning to learn that colored light (e.g., blue light) in a certain context (e.g., in an office) will signal an electrical shock, while the same light in a different context (e.g., on a bookshelf) will not signal an electrical shock. Then on day two, extinction recall and fear renewal tests will be conducted by displaying the same cues to the participants but now without electrical shocks. SCR from the participants will be collected, cleaned, and analyzed; however, at this time, the target sample size has not yet been reached, so participants are still being recruited and SCR data is still being collected. The predicted conclusion from this study is that those with PTSD and FM will display higher levels of SCR during extinction recall and fear renewal. Understanding the emphasis on one’s contextual processing will help promote and facilitate better treatments for those with PTSD and FM.

Authors: Ashley LaPlant, Elizabeth Duval, Hanjoo Kim
Research Method: Clinical Research
Lab website –

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