Enhancing exposure therapy for specific phobias using a pre-treatment fear priming task
Recent animal and human research suggest that a behavioral prime before extinction training lessens the spontaneous recovery of learned fear. These findings would have large ranging implications, if they could be applied to the treatment of specific phobias in which spontaneous recovery is often problematic. The present study examined the effects of a behavioral prime paired with exposure therapy versus exposure therapy alone on snake and spider phobics return of fear at one-month follow-up. The findings did not support the proposed hypothesis that those in the primed group would show a significant lessening in return of fear. The study findings do not support the current research, but there are a number of steps that may be taken in the future to gain more objective measurements that may lead to hypothesis support.