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 anxiety. My main focus is on the mechanisms of change in the treatment of anxiety 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. I nsights 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 disrupted . Disruption of the fear memory itself may prevent the return of fear and thereby a promising therapeutic tool providing long-term cure for patients suffering from anxiety 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 anxiety disorders.

Selected Publications

Kindt, M., & Soeter, M. (2011). Reconsolidation in a Human Fear Conditioning Study: A test of Extinction as Updating Mechanism. Biological Psychology, doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.09.016.


Krugers, H.J., Zhou, M., Joëls, M., & Kindt, M. (2011). Regulation in excitatory synapses and fearful memories by stress hormones. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 5: 62, doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2011.00062.


Soeter, M., & Kindt, M. (2011) Disrupting reconsolidation: Pharmacological and behavioral manipulations. Learningand Memory, 18 , 357-366.


Soeter, M., & Kindt, M. (2011). Noradrenergic enhancement of associative fear memory in humans. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 96, 263-271.


Visser,R.M, Scholte, S., & Kindt, M. (2011). Associative learning increases trial-by-trial similarity of BOLD-MRI patterns. The Journal of Neuroscience , 31, 12021-12028.

Soeter, M. & Kindt, M. (2010). Dissociating response systems: Erasing fear from memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 94 , 31-40.

Stegeren, A.H. van , Roozendaal, B., Kindt, M. , Wolf, O.T., van, & Joels, M. (2010). Interactingnoradrenergic and corticosteroid systems shift human brain activation patterns and improve memory performance. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 93, 56-65.

Kindt, M. , Soeter, M., & Vervliet, B. (2009). Beyond extinction: Erasing human fear responses and preventing the return of fear. Nature Neuroscience,  12, 256-258.

Salemink, E., Hout, M. A., van den, & Kindt, M . (2009 ). Effects of positive interpretive bias modification in highly anxious individuals. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 676-683 .

Kindt, M., Buck, N., Arntz, A.,& Soeter, M. (2007). Perceptual and conceptual processing as predictors of treatment outcome in PTSD. Journal of Behavior Therapy andExperimental Psychiatry , 38, 491-506.

Kindt, M., Bierman, D. & Brosschot, J. F. (1997).Cognitive bias inspider fear and non fear children: Assessment of emotional interference by a card format and a single-trial format of the Stroop task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 66,163-179.

Kindt, M., & Brosschot, J. F. (1997). Phobia-related cognitive bias for pictorial and linguistic stimuli. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 644-648.










  • 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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