Fotograaf: Jeroen Oerlemans

mw. prof. dr. M. (Merel) Kindt

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Clinical Psychology
  • Bezoekadres
    REC G
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 129  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: 1.43
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15933
    1001 NK  Amsterdam
    T: 0205256044
    T: 0205256810

Research Interests

My research is concerned with the understanding of neurobiological and psychological processes of fear and anxiety with the main focus on the mechanisms of change in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders. Although cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is effective in reducing fear for most anxiety disorders, a high percentage of patients experience a relapse even after apparently successful treatment. The prevailing view on the return of fear is that CBT can eliminate all fearful responding , but does not erase the original fear memory. Partial or full reappearance of fear may be explained by intact fear memories that resurface. Once a fear memory has been established, it is held to be forever. Insights from neuroscience suggest that it is unnecessarily defeatist to regard fear memory as irreversible. Fear conditioning research in animals and humans shows that reactivation of a consolidated fear memory can turn it to a labile, sensitive state in which the memory trace can be changed. Disruption of fear memory reconsolidation may prevent the return of fear and is thereby a promising therapeutic strategy for patients with anxiety and related disorders. We utilise the fear-conditioning paradigm to achieve a better understanding of the optimal and boundary conditions of changing fear memory. I believe that basic research is required for a step-change improvement of treatment for psychiatric disorders.

Selected Publications

  • Kindt, M. , Soeter, M., & Vervliet, B. (2009). Beyond extinction: Erasing human fear responses and preventing the return of fear. Nature Neuroscience, 12, 256-258.
  • Soeter, M., & Kindt, M. (2012). Stimulation of the noradrenergic system during memory formation impairs extinction learning but not the disruption of reconsolidation. Neuropsychopharmacology, 37, 1204-1215.
  • Sevenster, D., Beckers, T. & Kindt, M. (2013). Prediction error governs pharmacologically induced amnesia for learned fear. Science, 339, 830-833.
  • Visser, R.M., Scholte, H.S., Beemsterboer, T., & Kindt, M. (2013). Neural pattern similarity predicts long-term fear memory. Nature Neuroscience, 16, 388-390.
  • Ast, V.A. van, Cornelisse, S., Meeter, M., Joëls, M., & Kindt, M. (2013). Time-dependent effects of cortisol on the contextualization of emotional memories. Biological Psychiatry, 74, 809-816.
  • Soeter, M., & Kindt, M. (2015). An abrupt transformation of phobic behavior following a post-retrieval amnesic agent. Biological Psychiatry, 78, 880-886.


  • Arnaudova, I. B., Fanselow, M. S., Kindt, M., & Beckers, T. R. J. (2017). Pathways towards the proliferation of avoidance in anxiety and their implications for treatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy[details]


  • Elsey, J. W. B., & Kindt, M. (2016). Manipulating human memory through reconsolidation: Ethical Implications of a New Therapeutic Approach. AJOB NEUROSCI, 7(4), 225-236. DOI: [details]
  • Kindt, M., & van Emmerik, A. (2016). New avenues for treating emotional memory disorders: towards a reconsolidation intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, 6(4), 283-95. DOI: 10.1177/2045125316644541 [details]
  • Visser, R. M., de Haan, M. I. C., Beemsterboer, T., Haver, P., Kindt, M., & Scholte, H. S. (2016). Quantifying learning‐dependent changes in the brain: Single trial multivoxel pattern analysis requires slow event related fMRI. Psychophysiology, 53(8), 1117-1127. DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12665 [details]
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