Answer by Carlo Carandang:
On fMRI, specific phobia is associated with hyperactivity of the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, and insula. After 2 weeks of exposure therapy, there was significant reduction of the hyperactivity in these brain areas (Goossens et al., 2007). In general, anxiety is associated with increased amygdala activity, and exposure therapy reduces this hyperactivity. This highlights the importance of exposure in anxiety treatment…face your fears, otherwise it is avoidance, and we know what avoidance leads to.