Savings test for associations between neutral stimuli

Peter C. Holland, Robert T. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Three experiments showed a savings procedure to be an effective and sensitive alternative to sensory preconditioning procedures as a measure of associations among neutral stimuli. Experiment 1 showed that within-compound associations developed more rapidly in reinforced appetitive serial compound conditioning when nonreinforced preexposure to the serial compound was given than when separate element or no preexposure was given. Experiment 2 showed the savings effect to be highly stimulus specific. Experiment 3 examined the facilitation of serial compound conditioning after either simultaneous or serial nonreinforced preexposure to the elements of the compound. The results of that experiment were consistent with those of analogous sensory preconditioning experiments. When preexposure involved only the two elements of the subsequently reinforced compound, serial preexposure produced more savings than simultaneous preexposure. But when preexposure involved a three-stimulus procedure like that used by Rescorla (1980b), simultaneous preexposure resulted in more savings. Advantages of the savings procedure over sensory preconditioning as a measure of association among neutral stimuli are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Learning & Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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