Description: Fear is a fundamental emotion in our drive for survival, but it can become problematic in some cases, such as in social anxiety disorder or specific phobias. The state of the science in fear learning has matured by leaps and bounds, while the clinical applications of this basic science have lagged behind. This book explores the latest findings and attempts to integrate clinical questions and applications with empirical evidence.
Purpose: According to the author, the goal of this book is to present the latest empirical evidence and theoretical developments in the realm of fear learning and translate these findings into clinical applications. By the same token, it is hoped that new clinical questions will stimulate future empirical studies in the basic science of fear learning.
Audience: This book is targeted at practicing clinicians and students of psychology and psychiatry. It also is appropriate for students and researchers involved in the basic sciences related to fear learning. Michelle Craske is a well known expert in anxiety disorders and, along with her coeditors, she has compiled an international cast of highly knowledgeable researchers.
Features: The three main sections of the book cover a history of fear learning theory and measurement; the acquisition and maintenance of fear, the role of avoidance, and individual differences in fear learning; and the extinction, renewal, and reinstatement of fear. The chapters are very focused on fear and include little extraneous information. The book is written with a nice balance of technical detail and narrative text. There is a natural progression to the chapters, which move through history, measurement methods, neurobiology, cognitive and behavioral models, and clinical applications. The integration of treatment suggestions is fairly specific, describing factors such as trial spacing, length of extinction training, and promising contexts for extinction. To assist with comprehension, each chapter contains an overview and a brief concluding section. A number of tables and illustrations are helpful in understanding the research.
Assessment: Craske and colleagues present a compelling book on fear learning that manages to address a wide range of issues within the realm of fear learning. It provides a concise review of the relevant literature, as well as applications to clinical treatment approaches based on empirical findings. The theoretical and empirical information specific to fear learning complements other general texts on anxiety, such as Craske's Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Approaches to Theory and Treatment, (Westview Press, 1998).