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ErasingFear SIGNED

Understanding the Stability and Plasticity of Emotional Memory

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "ErasingFear" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: SPUI 21
postcode: 1012WX

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 2˙498˙328 €
 EC max contribution 2˙498˙328 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-01-01   to  2022-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM NL (AMSTERDAM) coordinator 2˙498˙328.00


 Project objective

The breakthrough discovery in animal research that fear memories may change upon retrieval – referred to as memory reconsolidation – has drastically changed the view on the malleability of emotional memory. Inspired by these insights, we have developed a novel approach to pharmacologically erase the affective component from fear memories in humans. Although these findings suggest a paradigm shift in clinical practice, there are many fundamental questions to be resolved.

The objective of this proposal is to gain an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of the dynamic balance between the stability and malleability of emotional memory, and consequently develop a revolutionary theory-driven treatment for emotional memory disorders.

This program presents a novel mechanistic framework on memory reconsolidation challenging in several ways the dominant model of emotional memory modification. First, while during traditional interventions cognitive changes are required for a reduction in fear, in our procedure cognitive changes preclude the neutralization of fear memory. On the other hand, post-retrieval changes in the cognitive (WP1) and neural (WP2) expression of fear memory may serve as read-outs to demarcate the underlying processes necessary for memory reconsolidation. Second, in contrast to the immediate, but gradual decline of fear during traditional interventions, with memory reconsolidation the fear reduction is delayed, yet abrupt, and sleep may be essential (WP3). A thorough understanding of these processes is essential for developing a reconsolidation intervention in clinical practice (WP4). Finally, the program aims to understand the paradoxical dissociation, yet interdependence, between the cognitive and emotional expressions of fear memory (WP5). This proposal is unique in its bidirectional translational approach. It involves different levels of analysis: from behavioural science, to neuroscience to clinical science, and backwards.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Merel Kindt
The surprising subtleties of changing fear memory: a challenge for translational science
published pages: 20170033, ISSN: 0962-8436, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0033
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 373/1742 2019-09-26
2018 James Elsey, Merel Kindt
Can criminals use propranolol to erase crime-related memories? A response to McGorrery (2017)
published pages: 136-138, ISSN: 1037-969X, DOI: 10.1177/1037969x18765204
Alternative Law Journal 43/2 2019-09-26
2018 Leonidas Faliagkas, Priyanka Rao-Ruiz, Merel Kindt
Emotional memory expression is misleading: delineating transitions between memory processes
published pages: 116-122, ISSN: 2352-1546, DOI: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.12.018
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 19 2019-09-26
2018 James W. B. Elsey, Vanessa A. Van Ast, Merel Kindt
Human memory reconsolidation: A guiding framework and critical review of the evidence.
published pages: 797-848, ISSN: 0033-2909, DOI: 10.1037/bul0000152
Psychological Bulletin 144/8 2019-09-09

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