Dissociative effects of flooding on a multivariate assessment of fear reduction and on jump-up avoidance extinction

Susan Mineka*, Stephanie Miller, Antonio Gino, Laura Giencke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Two experiments examined the effectiveness of three different amounts of flooding on hastening extinction of a jump-up avoidance response and on reducing fear as assessed by the multivariate fear assessment techniques of D. P. Corriveau and N. F. Smith (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1978, 107, 145-158). In Experiment 1, a 40-min flooding treatment significantly hastened jump-up avoidance extinction, 10 min of flooding had a marginal effect, and 5 min had no effect. In Experiment 2, flooding treatments of 5, 10, and 40 min duration were all effective in reducing fear of the grid floor as indexed by seven of our nine dependent measures, including approach latency, safety test latency, and amount of time spent on the grids. Flooded subjects that were dumped onto the grid floor once at the start of the fear observation phase were found to show somewhat more fear reduction than were flooded subjects that were simply placed on the ledge at the outset of the fear observation phase and never dumped. These results, i.e., less flooding is required to reduce fear than to hasten avoidance extinction, are contrasted with those of previous experiments indicating that more flooding may be required to reduce fear than to hasten shuttlebox avoidance extinction. Such differences are discussed in the context of SSDR theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-461
Number of pages27
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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