Our research on competing rewards and decision conflicts in anxiety disorders and their treatment was recently feature in the Arte Documentary “When fear makes you ill”. Together with experts from Germany and France, we highlight the latest translational research undertaken to better help those suffering from anxiety disorders. Worth a watch in Arte`s media library: https://www.arte.tv/en/videos/078140-000-A/when-fear-makes-you-ill/
Rewards for approaching a feared stimulus may compete with fear reduction inherent to avoidance and thereby alter fear and avoidance learning. However, the impact of such competing rewards on fear and avoidance acquisition has rarely been investigated. In our new paper, we show that avoidance is frequently performed and persists in the absence of the US. Positive outcomes for approaching aversive events do not buffer fear acquisition, but can prevent avoidance. This damping of avoidance may initiate fear extinction.