Inhibition of fear by learned safety signals: a mini-symposium review

J Neurosci. 2012 Oct 10;32(41):14118-24. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3340-12.2012.


Safety signals are learned cues that predict the nonoccurrence of an aversive event. As such, safety signals are potent inhibitors of fear and stress responses. Investigations of safety signal learning have increased over the last few years due in part to the finding that traumatized persons are unable to use safety cues to inhibit fear, making it a clinically relevant phenotype. The goal of this review is to present recent advances relating to the neural and behavioral mechanisms of safety learning, and expression in rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Safety*