SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.35 issue1Non-normal data in repeated measures ANOVA: impact on type I error and powerProtocol for a trial assessing the efficacy of a Universal School-Based Prevention Program for addictive behaviors author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • Have no similar articlesSimilars in SciELO
  • On index processSimilars in Google



On-line version ISSN 1886-144XPrint version ISSN 0214-9915


ORTIGOSA-BELTRAN, Isabel et al. Languages and psychotherapy: the effect of foreign language on fear extinction. Psicothema [online]. 2023, vol.35, n.1, pp.30-40.  Epub Feb 12, 2024. ISSN 1886-144X.


Using a foreign language can influence emotion modulation, but whether different psychotherapy processes would be affected by a foreign language is still unclear. The current study explored the foreign language effect on the extinction of fear.


During the conditioning phase, part of the neutral stimuli presented to the participants were associated with a threat, while they performed a countdown task in their native language. In the extinction phase, participants performed the same task either in their native/foreign language and were informed that the threat would no longer appear. We collected self-reports of fear, and pupil dilation and electrodermal activity as physiological measures of arousal.


Extinction was successful, indicated by greater self-reported fear and pupil dilation during the threat condition compared to neutral in the conditioning phase, but no significant differences during extinction. Although the foreign language group presented higher arousal, fear extinction occurred regardless of the linguistic context.


Fear extinction via verbal instructions is equally effective in a foreign and a native language context. These results indicate that evidence should be continue to be gathered on the role of foreign languages using basic paradigms with clinical applications.

Keywords : Foreign language; bilingualism; fear extinction; conditioning; fear; emotions.

        · abstract in Spanish     · text in English     · English ( pdf )