Differential effects of reinforcement of an inhibitory feature after serial and simultaneous feature negative discrimination training

Peter C Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Two experiments using a conditioned suppression procedure with 64 Sprague-Dawley rats found that postconditioning reinforcement of an inhibitory feature stimulus (X) had substantially different effects depending on whether a serial or a simultaneous feature negative discrimination procedure was used to establish the inhibition. With the simultaneous procedure, acquisition of excitation to the previously inhibitory X was retarded when X was paired with shock. Subsequent summation tests showed no evidence of inhibition to X after reinforced X presentations. However, acquisition of excitation to X was unaffected by prior serial feature negative training, and X-shock pairings had relatively little effect on X's inhibitory power in summation tests. Data suggest that the nature of inhibition established in feature negative discriminations differs substantially depending on the temporal arrangement of stimuli. One possibility is that inhibitors established using simultaneous stimulus arrangements modulate behavior by acting on a representation of the UCS, but inhibitors established with serial procedures act on particular CS-UCS associations. (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-475
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1984
Externally publishedYes



  • serial vs simultaneous feature negative discrimination procedure, effects of postconditioning reinforcement of inhibitory feature stimulus, rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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