Seeking a spotless mind: extinction, deconsolidation, and erasure of fear memory.
Learning to contend with threats in the environment is essential to survival, but dysregulation of memories for traumatic events can lead to disabling psychopathology. Recent years have witnessed an impressive growth in our understanding of the neural systems and synaptic mechanisms underlying emotional memory formation. As a consequence, interest has emerged in developing strategies for suppressing, if not eliminating, fear memories. Here, I review recent work employing sophisticated behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular tools to target fear memories, placing these memories firmly behind the crosshairs of neurobiologically informed interventions. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.