Brain Imaging Study Shows How Mind Adjusts in Threatening and Safe Circumstances

Researchers at New York University and Princeton University have mapped out how the brain responds to situations that once generated fear, but are subsequently seen as safe or non-threatening. The research, which appears in the Journal of Neuroscience, may enhance our understanding of how to treat clinical fear disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Previously, scientists have explored the processes by which we eliminate fears-i.e., fear extinction. In this case, the brain responds to dangerous or threatening circumstances, then alters this processing when identical situations, experienced later, are seen as safe. However, in everyday life, fear is usually not eliminated but is rather targeted somewhere 500

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