Trial Search Results

Using the Neuroscience of Fear Extinction for Anxiety Reduction

Social anxiety disorder affects as many as 12% of Americans, resulting in significant distress and disability. Although exposure therapy is one of the best treatments available, as many as 25% of patients do not respond and we do not know why. Extinction learning is thought to be the mechanism of exposure therapy, and the neuroscience of extinction learning has advanced significantly since exposure therapy was developed; however, there has been little application towards improved clinical outcomes.

This project aims to improve exposure therapy response for patients with social anxiety disorder by directly linking exposure therapy response to the neurobiology of extinction learning. It also aims to increase our scientific understanding of how brain circuits work to support extinction learning. To do this, 80 adults with social anxiety disorder will randomly be assigned to either receive exposure therapy right away, or to wait before therapy. Participants will all complete a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan to assess extinction learning before the therapy.

Stanford is currently accepting patients for this trial.

Lead Sponsor:

Stanford University

Stanford Investigator(s):


  • Behavioral: Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM)




Inclusion Criteria:

   - age 18-50

   - primary diagnosis of social anxiety disorder

   - fluent spoken and written English

   - able to provide informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

   - history of mania or psychosis

   - current moderate or severe substance use disorder

   - current major depression greater than moderate severity

   - high risk for suicide

   - prior traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness >5 minutes

   - general medical condition or impediment to vision, hearing, or motor function likely
   to interfere with assessments

   - prior exposure therapy (>2 sessions)

   - current use of psychotropic medication

   - current psychotherapy other than couples counseling

   - post-menopausal status

   - pregnancy

Ages Eligible for Study

18 Years - 50 Years

Genders Eligible for Study


Now accepting new patients

Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Tali M Ball, PhD