Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Psychological Science

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Toufexis

Second Advisor

Dr. Travis Todd


estrogen, fear, habit, fear extinction, dorsolateral striatum


Research has shown that estrogen can increase the speed of fear extinction, but has not yet shown how or where in the brain that occurs. Other research has shown that estrogen can hinder habituation, which occurs in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS). We hypothesize that estrogen enhances fear extinction by working in the DLS. A sample of rats underwent fear conditioning, measured by the display of freezing behavior, and then infused with estrogen into the DLS to determine if that facilitates fear extinction. The results demonstrated that the freezing behavior of the experimental group was reduced at a faster rate than the control, implying that estrogen does have an effect on fear extinction when introduced to the DLS. This research could lead to new treatments for mental illnesses such as posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as simply reveal a connection between fear and anxiety and habit that has not been shown before.

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.

Available for download on Sunday, May 03, 2026