Extinction vs. Suppression

Disparate research in animals and humans has shown that the impact of fearful memories can be reduced through an automatic process (fear extinction) or a volitional process (memory suppression), respectively. However, it’s unclear whether these two processes work in a similar manner or involve the same neural circuitry.

Therefore as a first step, we behaviorally tested both memory suppression and fear extinction in the same individuals to identify what components of emotional memories are consciously reduced during suppression and extinction (i.e. emotionality versus contextual detail).