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"Your Imagination Could Help Conquer Your Fears" - Linda Carroll

  • Reuters Health
  • New York, NY
  • (November 21, 2018)

Therapists often use a technique that involves exposing patients to the source of their fears to conquer them, but a new study suggests that guided imagining of the source of fear can be just as effective. The traditional method, threat extinction, relies on triggering areas of the brain involved in perception, memory, learning and imagination, and the authors of the new study show the same processes occur when the fear source is “simulated” by imagining it. “The most interesting aspect was that we could measure neural responses and look at the brain’s state during imagination and see that it was similar to what happens during real exposure,” said senior author Daniela Schiller, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “By doing mental action we can bring our brains to a state that resembles what happens when there is real exposure.”

— Daniela Schiller, PhD, Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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