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Edward Franz Pace-Schott
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Dr. Edward Franz Pace-Schott is interested in how sleep helps humans regulate their emotions. Regulation of negative emotions can take place via uniquely human cognitive strategies such as reappraising the meaning of upsetting events or generating anticipatory protective beliefs. However evolutionarily ancient learning processes also contribute to human emotion regulation. These include extinction-learning that a once feared object or event is no longer dangerous-and habituation whereby we become less reactive to frequently encountered stimuli. His research strives to identify the effects of sleep on these elemental forms of emotional memory. Extinction and habituation are key components of a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, exposure therapy, and a process whereby therapeutically introduced extinction and habituation memories aid in overcoming debilitating fears. Many recent studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in the consolidation of emotional memory and, with colleagues at Mass General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and UMass Amherst, my recent work has demonstrated that sleep enhances generalization of extinction memory and promotes psychophysiological habituation to repeatedly encountered negative stimuli and enhances extinction memory and generalization following simulated exposure therapy.