Cold Pressor “Augmentation” Does Not Differentially Improve Treatment Response for Spider Phobia
- 143 Downloads
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.
KeywordsSpider phobia Cold pressor stress Fear Stress hormones
There was no extramural funding for this project.
- Amaral, D. G., Price, J. L., Pitkanen, A., & Carmichael, S. T. (1992). Anatomical organization of the primate amygdaloid complex. In J. P. Aggleton (Ed.), The amygdala: Neurobiological aspects of emotion, memory, mental dysfunction (pp. 1–66). New York: Wiley-Liss.Google Scholar
- Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.Google Scholar
- Ressler, K. J., Rothbaum, B. O., Tannenbaum, L., Anderson, P., Graap, K., Zimand, E., et al. (2004). Cognitive enhancers as adjuncts to psychotherapy: Use of D-cycloserine in phobic individuals to facilitate extinction of fear. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 1136–1144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schwabe, L., Bohringer, A., Chatterjee, M., & Schachinger, H. (2008). Effects of pre-learning stress on memory for neutral, positive and negative words: Different roles of cortisol and autonomic arousal. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 90(1), 44–53. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.02.002.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sharpley, C., Kauter, K., & McFarlane, J. (2008). An initial exploration of in vivo hair cortisol responses to a brief pain stressor: Latency, localisation and independence effects. Physiological Research/Academia Scientiarum Bohemoslovaca. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093721.
- Stark, R., Wolf, O. T., Tabbert, K., Kagerer, S., Zimmermann, M., Kirsch, P., et al. (2006). Influence of the stress hormone cortisol on fear conditioning in humans: Evidence for sex differences in the response of the prefrontal cortex. NeuroImage, 32(3), 1290–1298. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.05.046.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- van Stegeren, A. H., Wolf, O. T., & Kindt, M. (2008). Salivary alpha amylase and cortisol responses to different stress tasks: Impact of sex. International Journal of Psychophysiology: Official Journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, 69(1), 33–40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.02.008.Google Scholar
- Yuen, E. Y., Liu, W., Karatsoreos, I. N., Feng, J., McEwen, B. S., & Yan, Z. (2009). Acute stress enhances glutamatergic transmission in prefrontal cortex and facilitates working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(33), 14075–14079. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906791106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar