Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, cause individual suffering and high societal costs. Insight in basic mechanisms of anxiety is increasing, but less is known about why some people develop (pathological) anxiety while others do not. Understanding these individual differences is crucial for enlightening the etiology of anxiety, fostering resilience, and improving diagnostics and tailored treatments. Individual differences represent the key for a personalized medicine revolution but major challenges to individual differences research are posed by the large sample sizes and required replication studies.
A better communication, coordination and exchange between research groups and a focus on trans-disciplinarity is one possible solution. The scientific network EIFEL-ROF will forge an interdisciplinary platform to coherently delineate the factors underlying individual differences in (pathological) anxiety through the study of fear conditioning, extinction and return of fear and bring together experts from different fields pursuing common goals.
EIFEL-ROF will increase communication and coordination through tutorial/methods guidelines papers, joint publication of review articles and meta-analyses, coordination of cross-laboratory replication tests and data pooling. We will work on meta-research questions in the field of fear conditioning to ultimately improve the robustness of our methods. This will entail small steps from the individual research groups involved, while creating a giant leap forward in experimental research on fear and anxiety. This provides a major leap forward in the study of individual differences in anxiety (disorders) by pooling forces across a sufficient number of labs with a common focus but complementary expertise.
The EIFEL-ROF network is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, LO 1980/2-1) from 2015-2019 and will be administrated by the University of Hamburg (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf). If you have any questions regarding the network and our work, please contact:
Institute for Systems Neuroscience
Ruhr University Bochum
Faculty of Psychology