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Introducing the Fear Learning and Anxiety Response (FLARe) app and web portal for the remote delivery of fear conditioning experiments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Thomas McGregor, Kirstin Purves, Tom Barry, Elena Constantinou, Michelle G. Craske, Gerome Breen, Katie Young, Thalia Eley

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour Research Methods
Accepted/In press9 Aug 2022

King's Authors

Abstract

Experimental paradigms measuring key psychological constructs can enhance our understanding of mechanisms underlying human psychological well-being and mental health. Delivering such paradigms remotely affords opportunities to reach larger, more representative samples than is typically possible with in-person research. The efficiency gained from remote delivery makes it easier to test replication of previously established effects in well-powered samples. There are several challenges to the successful development and delivery of remote experimental paradigms, including use of an appropriate delivery platform, identifying feasible outcome measures, and metrics of participant compliance. In this paper, we present FLARe (Fear Learning and Anxiety Response), open-source software in the form of a smartphone app and web portal for the creation and delivery of remote fear conditioning experiments. We describe the benefits and challenges associated with the creation of a remote delivery platform for fear conditioning, before presenting in detail the resultant software suite, and one instance of deploying this using the FLARe Research infrastructure. We provide examples of the application of FLARe to several research questions which illustrate the benefits of the remote approach to experiment delivery. The FLARe smartphone app and web portal are available for use by other researchers and have been designed to be user friendly and intuitive. We hope that FLARe will be a useful tool for those interested in conducting well-powered fear conditioning studies to inform our understanding of the development and treatment of anxiety disorders.

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