Effects of phase synchronization and frequency specificity in the encoding of conditioned fear-a web-based fear conditioning study

Autor(en): Plog, Elena
Antov, Martin I. I.
Bierwirth, Philipp
Stockhorst, Ursula 
Stichwörter: ACTIVATION; AMYGDALA CIRCUITS; AUDIOVISUAL SYNCHRONY; EMOTION; ENTRAINMENT; MEMORY; Multidisciplinary Sciences; NETWORK OSCILLATIONS; Science & Technology - Other Topics; THETA OSCILLATIONS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2023
Herausgeber: PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Enthalten in: PLOS ONE
Band: 18
Ausgabe: 3
Zusammenfassung: 
Oscillatory synchronization in the theta-frequency band was found to play a causal role in binding information of different modalities in declarative memory. Moreover, there is first evidence from a laboratory study that theta-synchronized (vs. asynchronized) multimodal input in a classical fear conditioning paradigm resulted in better discrimination of a threat-associated stimulus when compared to perceptually similar stimuli never associated with the aversive unconditioned stimulus (US). Effects manifested in affective ratings and ratings of contingency knowledge. However, theta-specificity was not addressed so far. Thus, in the present pre-registered web-based fear conditioning study, we compared synchronized (vs. asynchronized) input in a theta-frequency band vs. the same synchronization manipulation in a delta frequency. Based on our previous laboratory design, five visual gratings of different orientations (25 degrees, 35 degrees, 45 degrees, 55 degrees, 65 degrees) served as conditioned stimuli (CS) with only one (CS+) paired with the auditory aversive US. Both CS and US were luminance or amplitude modulated, respectively, in a theta (4 Hz) or delta (1.7 Hz) frequency. In both frequencies, CS-US pairings were presented either in-phase (0 degrees phase lag) or out-of-phase (90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees), resulting in four independent groups (each group N = 40). Phase synchronization augmented the discrimination of CSs in CS-US contingency knowledge but did not affect valence and arousal ratings. Interestingly, this effect occurred independent of frequency. In sum, the current study proves the ability to successfully conduct complex generalization fear conditioning in an online setting. Based on this prerequisite, our data supports a causal role of phase synchronization in the declarative CS-US associations for low frequencies rather than in the specific theta-frequency band.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281644

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