Research Group: Fear and anxiety
Our interest is in psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of anxiolysis. While most research in the field of anxiolysis is about finding new drugs or understanding how drugs achieve their anxiolytic effects, our strategy is to investigate the neural basis of safety learning. Safety learning is a process by which one learns that a feared stimulus is not as threatening as expected, resulting in an attenuation of anxiety responses. Safety learning often occurs in everyday life and is an essential component of adaptive behavior. In cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), safety learning is specifically promoted through extinction training and various forms of cognitive regulation such as reappraisal. Our bet is that a better, notably neurobiological, understanding of these learning processes will open up new ways to improve anxiety therapy, but also to enhance quality of life in normal individuals.