Changing fear: the neurocircuitry of emotion regulation

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jan;35(1):136-46. doi: 10.1038/npp.2009.121.


The ability to alter emotional responses as circumstances change is a critical component of normal adaptive behavior and is often impaired in psychological disorders. In this review, we discuss four emotional regulation techniques that have been investigated as means to control fear: extinction, cognitive regulation, active coping, and reconsolidation. For each technique, we review what is known about the underlying neural systems, combining findings from animal models and human neuroscience. The current evidence suggests that these different means of regulating fear depend on both overlapping and distinct components of a fear circuitry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / physiology