Spatial exploration behaviour in an extended labyrinth in patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia

János Kallai, Kázmér Karádi, Tamás Bereczkei, Sándor Rózsa, W. Jake Jacobs, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Finding one's way through a labyrinth is both stressful and panicogenic for individuals suffering from panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA), whilst normal subjects experience no stress. In this study the spatial exploratory behaviour of 15 subjects suffering from PDA, together with 15 patients with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and a further 15 normal control subjects - all female - was analysed during a walk through a labyrinth-like basement in an attempt to find the exit. The study covered behavioural variables, i.e., anxiety levels whilst route-searching and exploration-related movements (the frequency and intensity of trunk and head rotation, touching oneself and folding one's arms across the chest) and also physiological variables (blood pressure, heart rate) before and after the labyrinth walk. Data obtained in the PDA subjects were compared with those of the GAD and control subjects, and it was found that the PDA subjects' high blood pressure was associated with disturbed exploratory activity, which restricted their contact to the environment. As a consequence, they did not detect navigation signals to find the right route to the labyrinth exit. The interpretation focused on the analysis of the structure of human extraterritorial fear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 15 2007


  • Blood pressure
  • Extraterritorial fear
  • Route finding
  • Spatial disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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