Animal models of fear learning provide a basis for understanding human fears. This research has demonstrated that the amygdala is necessary for the acquisition, storage and expression of fear learning. This talk will explore how the neural mechanisms identified in animal models are consistent with human brain function and extend this research to the complex learning situations more typical of human experience. I will first describe how the mechanisms of simple associative fear learning extend to the social acquisition of fear in humans. I will then focus on how fear, once acquired, can be diminished. Extinction and emotion regulation, techniques adapted in cognitive behavioral therapy, can be used to control fear via inhibitory signals from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex to the amygdala. One drawback of these techniques is that fears are only inhibited and can return, with one factor being stress. A more lasting means to control fear may be to target the fear memory itself through influencing reconsolidation. I will present evidence suggesting that the behavioral interference of reconsolidation in humans persistently inhibits fear and diminishes involvement of the prefrontal cortex inhibitory circuitry.