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B. A Study of Fear May Lead to New Behavior Therapies

Narrator: This is Science Today. Fear is a primal response and because of this, it's one of the hardest senses for people with fear anxiety to control. But behavioral scientists at UCLA have discovered repeated exposure to a fear trigger with few breaks in between is more effective than shorter exposures over a longer period of time. Dr. Mark Barad co-led the study.

Barad: We use a model in which we make mice mildly afraid by giving them a mild foot shock paired with a tone, a sound, and then we get rid of that fear by playing the sound repeatedly to the mice and so as they hear the sound without getting any more shocks, they become less fearful of that sound.

Narrator: This finding is part of a range of studies being conducted on fear extinction.

Barad: We're interested in how people ultimately get over their fears and we study a model for the kind of psychotherapy that's done to get animals over their fear called extinction and fear conditioning. In fact, this is the model that inspired behavior therapy.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.