Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 413–420 | Cite as

Cold Pressor “Augmentation” Does Not Differentially Improve Treatment Response for Spider Phobia

  • Norman B. Schmidt
  • J. Anthony Richey
  • Ann P. Funk
  • Melissa A. Mitchell
Original Article


An emerging literature suggests that memory enhancement may augment the effects of learning-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, has been shown to enhance memory. In this report, we evaluated whether a cold pressor stressor (CPS), which reliably generates stress hormones, may also augment treatment for specific phobias. Spider phobics were randomly assigned to CPS or warm water bath following a standardized session of exposure therapy. Inconsistent with our hypothesis, the CPS condition showed no significant enhancement in fear reduction compared to the control condition.


Spider phobia Cold pressor stress Fear Stress hormones 



There was no extramural funding for this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman B. Schmidt
    • 1
  • J. Anthony Richey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ann P. Funk
    • 1
  • Melissa A. Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Brain Imaging and Analysis CenterDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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