Associations in Pavlovian conditioned inhibition

Robert A. Rescorla, Peter C. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments with rat subjects used a variety of transfer tests to examine the associations learned when Pavlovian inhibition is established by an A+, AX- paradigm. Experiment 1 found in a conditioned suppression situation that inhibition conditioned to X with one exciter (A) readily transferred to another exciter (B) which had been paired with the same shock US. Transfer occurred even when the response to A had been extinguished prior to testing with B. However, X did not inhibit a general activity response produced by a B which had been subsequently paired with a food US. Experiment 2 employed a Pavlovian conditioning situation in which A and B, when separately paired with the same food US, evoked dissimilar responses. Nevertheless, an inhibitor trained in an A+, AX- paradigm successfully inhibited the different response evoked by B. However, such an X did not inhibit the behaviors acquired by A or B when they were subsequently paired with a shock US. The transfer of Pavlovian inhibition across conditioned stimuli and responses but not across unconditioned stimuli is consistent with the notion that a conditioned inhibitor acts to prevent activation of a US representation which would normally be activated by conditioned exciters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-447
Number of pages19
JournalLearning and Motivation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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