Development of anxiety: the role of threat appraisal and fear learning

Depress Anxiety. 2011 Jan;28(1):5-17. doi: 10.1002/da.20733. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


Anxious individuals exhibit threat biases at multiple levels of information processing. From a developmental perspective, abnormal safety learning in childhood may establish threat-related appraisal biases early, which may contribute to chronic disorders in adulthood. This review illustrates how the interface among attention, threat appraisal, and fear learning can generate novel insights for outcome prediction. This review summarizes data on amygdala function, as it relates to learning and attention, highlights the importance of examining threat appraisal, and introduces a novel imaging paradigm to investigate the neural correlates of threat appraisal and threat-sensitivity during extinction recall. This novel paradigm can be used to investigate key questions relevant to prognosis and treatment. Depression and Anxiety, 2011.© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Association Learning
  • Attention* / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Conditioning, Classical* / physiology
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Generalization, Psychological / physiology
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology