Stimulus preexposure speeds or slows subsequent acquisition of associative learning depending on learning test procedures and response measure

Peter C. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prior exposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS) typically results in latent inhibition—slower acquisition of associative learning about that stimulus in subsequent training. Here, we found that CS preexposure had different effects on the appetitive conditioning of rats with a sucrose unconditioned stimulus (US) depending on training test procedures, the similarity of preexposure and training procedures, and the choice of response measure. Preexposure to a visual or an auditory stimulus produced facilitation of acquisition of food-cup-directed responding when both of those cues were (separately) paired with sucrose delivery in the training test (Experiments 1 and 3). By contrast, the same preexposure procedure resulted in latent inhibition of food-cup learning if the second stimulus in the test phase was of the same modality as the preexposed stimulus (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, latent inhibition was enhanced if both phases included a single CS or both phases included both auditory and visual CSs, compared to treatments in which only one CS was presented in one phase but two CSs were presented in the other phase. In Experiment 4, preexposure of an auditory cue slowed subsequent learning about it if the context was salient but enhanced learning if the context was of weaker salience. Finally, a measure of general activity revealed latent inhibition after preexposure in all conditions in all 4 experiments. We discuss the results within several classes of latent inhibition theories, none of which provides a comprehensive account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-156
Number of pages23
JournalLearning and Behavior
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Keywords

  • Acquisition
  • Associative learning
  • Latent inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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