Learning to Inhibit Fear - Scientia Professor Fred Westbrook

What is this research about?

Clinical trials have established that cognitive behavioural therapy is relatively effective for disorders such as post-traumatic stress. A component of this therapy is cue exposure in which the patient, aided by the clinician, confronts trauma-related cues in the absence of any overt danger. One aim of such confrontations is to reduce, even eliminate, the ability of these cues to elicit the fear and associated avoidance that impair the quality of the patient’s life. Extinction of learned fear responses in rodents is a laboratory model of cue exposure. The project uses rodents to study the psychological processes and neural mechanisms underlying extinction of learned fear.

Other researchers involved:

Dr. Vincent Laurent

Dr. Nura Lingawi

Publications relating to this research:

Lingawi, N. W., Westbrook, R. F., Laurent, V. (in press). Extinction of relapsed fear does not require the basolateral amygdala. Neurobiology of Leaning & Memory.

Lingawi, N. W., Westbrook, R. F., Laurent, V. (2016). Extinction and latent inhibition involve a similar form of inhibitory learning that is stored in and retrieved from the infralimbic cortex. Cerebral Cortex.


Laurent, V., & Westbrook, F. F. Treatment of relapse in anxiety disorders: an animal model.

NH&MRC project grant (2014-2016)


To find out more about this research, please contact Scientia Professor Fred Westbrook.