The contextual brain: Implications for fear conditioning, extinction and psychopathology

Stephen Maren, K. Luan Phan, Israel Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

942 Scopus citations


Contexts surround and imbue meaning to events; they are essential for recollecting the past, interpreting the present and anticipating the future. Indeed, the brain's capacity to contextualize information permits enormous cognitive and behavioural flexibility. Studies of Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction in rodents and humans suggest that a neural circuit including the hippocampus, amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex is involved in the learning and memory processes that enable context-dependent behaviour. Dysfunction in this network may be involved in several forms of psychopathology, including post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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