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

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Clinical Psychology
  • Weesperplein  4
    1018 XA  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. (2011) Disrupting reconsolidation: Pharmacological and behavioral manipulations. Learning and Memory, 18, 357-366.
  • 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.


  • F.J. Gazendam, J.H. Kamphuis, A. Eigenhuis, H.M. Huizenga, M. Soeter, M.G.N. Bos, D. Sevenster & M. Kindt (in press). Personality Predicts Individual Variation in Fear Learning: a Multilevel Growth Modeling Approach. Clinical Psychological Science.
  • A.E. Kunze, A.R. Arntz & M. Kindt (in press). Fear conditioning with film clips: A complex associative learning paradigm. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 47, 42-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.11.007









  • F. Raes, M. Kindt & A. Arntz (2011). Cognitieve verwerking en psychopathologie: theorie en onderzoek. In S.M. Bögels & P. van Oppen (Eds.), Cognitieve therapie: theorie en praktijk. - 2e, geheel herz. dr (pp. 3-29). Houten: Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum.
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