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It is well accepted that many maladaptive behaviors are influenced and controlled by basic learning processes. Indeed, both Pavlovian (i.e., classical) and instrumental (i.e., operant) conditioning processes have a role in the development and maintenance of several forms of human psychopathology, including anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse and dependence. One way in which previously learned behaviors can be reduced is through extinction. In Pavlovian extinction, conditioned responding decreases when the conditioned stimulus (CS) is repeatedly presented alone, in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (US). Pavlovian extinction has been studied extensively in the laboratory, and importantly, it is the preclinical model of exposure-based therapy in humans, a common means for treating many forms of human psychopathology. For example, in the treatment of ...

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