Fear learning and memory across adolescent development. Hormones and behavior special issue: Puberty and adolescence
Throughout the past several decades, studies have uncovered a wealth of information about the neural circuitry underlying fear learning and extinction that has helped to inform treatments for fear-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress and anxiety. Yet, up to 40% of people do not respond to such treatments. Adolescence, in particular, is a developmental stage during which anxiety disorders peak, yet little is known about the development of fear-related neural circuitry during this period. Moreover, pharmacological and behavioral therapies that have been developed are based on mature circuitry and function. Here, we review neural circuitry implicated in fear learning and data from adolescent mouse and human fear learning studies. In addition, we propose a developmental model of fear neural circuitry that may optimize current treatments and inform when, during development, specific treatments for anxiety may be most effective.