Date of Completion

2016

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Psychological Science

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

William A. Falls

Keywords

anxiety, stress, PTSD, generalization, fear conditioning, discrimination

Abstract

Prior lifetime experience of stress is a significant risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders. The mechanisms by which stress conveys these effects are unknown and likely involve complicated neurobiological alterations. In order to begin to characterize this relationship, we examined the effect of two weeks of chronic stress on fear learning and discrimination. Contrary to our hypothesis, we failed to observe exaggerated fear or poor discrimination in stressed mice. Although the lack of difference in fear learning between stressed and control mice may be attributed to complications in experimental design, these results suggest that the relationship between prior stress and vulnerability to PTSD is more complex than originally conceived.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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