About this Research Topic
Throughout their lifetime, animals learn to associate stimuli with their consequences. Following memory acquisition and consolidation, circumstances may arise that necessitate that initially learned behaviour is no longer relevant. The ensuing process is called extinction learning and involves a novel and complex learning procedure that involves a large number of neural entities. While the neural fundaments of the initial acquisition are well studied, our understanding of the behavioural and neural basis of extinction is still limited and derives mostly from rodent data acquired through fear conditioning paradigms. Fear conditioning and extinction in rodents is a spectacularly successful paradigm within behavioral neuroscience. However, in recent years, new approaches have been emerging that examine the mechanisms of extinction learning in different setting that also involve appetitive models, a broader comparative perspective, a focus on other brain systems, an examination of hormonal factors, and conditioning of immune responses. Only a broader analysis of the neural fundaments of extinction learning will finally uncover shared and distinct mechanisms that underlie extinction learning in different functional systems.
We therefore propose a research topic that focuses on the neural and behavioral foundations of extinction learning by emphasising that varieties of approaches are welcome. We believe that the analyses of extinction learning from cellular, immunological, behavioural, psychological and clinical perspectives will strongly benefit from our approach.
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