Amount of training and stimulus salience affect associability changes in serial conditioning

Peter C. Holland, Meredith Bashaw, Jennifer Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Q. J. Exp. Psychol. 44B (1992) 17 reported that extended training with a serial compound of two conditioned stimuli, S1→S2, resulted in losses in the rate at which S1-food associations were formed in a subsequent test phase. However, this ability of S1 to participate in new learning (its associability) could be restored by omitting S2 on some trials. Variables that affect performance in this task were examined in five Pavlovian appetitive conditioning experiments with rats. In Experiment 1, the associability of S1 decreased gradually as a function of the number of training sessions with a consistent S1-S2 relation. In Experiment 2, after extended exposure to a consistent S1-S2 relation, the associability of S1 was restored with as few as one training session in which the S1-S2 relation was made inconsistent by omitting S2 on some trials. In Experiments 3-5, test phase conditioning of S1 after inconsistent training was found to be either greater than, less than, or similar to, conditioning of S1 after consistent training, depending on the relative salience of the events used as S1 and S2. The results showed that both intrinsic and extrinsic relations among stimuli must be considered when interpreting the results of experiments in stimulus selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 30 2002

Keywords

  • Associability
  • Attention
  • Stimulus salience
  • Stimulus selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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