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Inconsistent analytic strategies reduce robustness in fear extinction via skin conductance response

Ney, LJ, Laing, PAF, Steward, T, Zuj, DV, Dymond, S and Felmingham, KL 2020 , 'Inconsistent analytic strategies reduce robustness in fear extinction via skin conductance response' , Psychophysiology , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1111/psyp.13650.

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Abstract

Robustness of fear conditioning and extinction paradigms has become increasinglyimportant for many researchers interested in improving the study of anxiety andtrauma disorders. We recently illustrated the wide variability in data analysis techniques in this paradigm, which we argued may result in a lack of robustness. In thecurrent study, we resampled data from six of our own fear acquisition and extinctiondata sets, with skin conductance as the outcome. In the resampled and original datasets, we found that effect sizes that were calculated using discrepant statistical strategies, sourced from a non-exhaustive search of high-impact articles, were often poorlycorrelated. The main contributors to poor correlations were the selection of trialsfrom different stages of each experimental phase and the use of average compared totrial-by-trial analysis. These findings reinforce the importance of focusing on robustness in the psychophysiological measurement of fear acquisition and extinction inthe laboratory and may guide prospective researchers in which decisions may mostimpact the robustness of their results.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ney, LJ and Laing, PAF and Steward, T and Zuj, DV and Dymond, S and Felmingham, KL
Keywords: fear conditioning, fear extinction, robustness, skin conductance response, statistical analysis, threat conditioning
Journal or Publication Title: Psychophysiology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 0048-5772
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/psyp.13650
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Society for Psychophysiological Research

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