Learning to fear a second-order stimulus following vicarious learning

Article


Reynolds, G., Field, A. and Askew, C. 2017. Learning to fear a second-order stimulus following vicarious learning. Cognition and Emotion. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2015.1116978
TypeArticle
TitleLearning to fear a second-order stimulus following vicarious learning
AuthorsReynolds, G., Field, A. and Askew, C.
Abstract

Vicarious fear learning refers to the acquisition of fear via observation of the fearful responses of others. The present study aims to extend current knowledge by exploring whether second-order vicarious fear learning can be demonstrated in children. That is, whether vicariously learnt fear responses for one stimulus can be elicited in a second stimulus associated with that initial stimulus. Results demonstrated that children’s (5–11 years) fear responses for marsupials and caterpillars increased when they were seen with fearful faces compared to no faces. Additionally, the results indicated a second-order effect in which fear-related learning occurred for other animals seen together with the fear-paired animal, even though the animals were never observed with fearful faces themselves. Overall, the findings indicate that for children in this age group vicariously learnt fear-related responses for one stimulus can subsequently be observed for a second stimulus without it being experienced in a fear-related vicarious learning event. These findings may help to explain why some individuals do not recall involvement of a traumatic learning episode in the development of their fear of a specific stimulus.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalCognition and Emotion
ISSN0269-9931
Publication dates
Online09 Dec 2015
Print01 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jan 2016
Accepted02 Nov 2015
Publisher's version
License
Additional information

Published online: 09 Dec 2015

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2015.1116978
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/861q4

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