ABSTRACT Social interaction is known to alter behavior and emotional responses to various events. It has been reported that when fear-conditioned animals are put in a fear extinction paradigm with non-fearful conspecifics (pair-exposure), freezing behavior decreases compared to a solitary situation. However, it remains unclear whether pair-exposure during fear extinction is persistently effective in reducing the freezing response. In this study, we examined whether the effect of pair-exposure could be persistently effective on cued and contextual fear extinction. The reduction of the fear compared to the solitary condition was transiently observed only in the cued fear extinction with no difference in the subsequent recall session. We also found that the correlation between corticosterone levels and freezing behavior during extinction was disrupted in the pair-exposure situation. These results suggest that pair-exposure reduces freezing behavior in cued fear extinction, although this fear response reduction is not persistent. The pair-exposure changed an association between corticosterone levels and freezing behavior during extinction.
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