Young and old Pavlovian fear memories can be modified with extinction training during reconsolidation in humans.


Extinction training during reconsolidation has been shown to persistently diminish conditioned fear responses across species. We investigated in humans if older fear memories can benefit similarly. Using a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm we compared standard extinction and extinction after memory reactivation 1 d or 7 d following acquisition. Participants who underwent extinction during reconsolidation showed no evidence of fear recovery, whereas fear responses returned in participants who underwent standard extinction. We observed this effect in young and old fear memories. Extending the beneficial use of reconsolidation to older fear memories in humans is promising for therapeutic applications.