Renewal of Comparator Stimuli

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Denniston Ph.D., Associate Professor and Department Chairperson (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Prior research has found a) recovery from overshadowing as a result of posttraining extinction of comparator stimuli (i.e., the overshadowing stimulus), and b) context modulation of conditioned responding to Pavlovian stimuli (i.e., renewal). The present research brought together these two findings by investigating whether comparator stimuli are subject to contextual control. In a Pavlovian conditioned suppression situation, rats were exposed to an overshadowing procedure (i.e., AX1) in one context and then received extinction of the overshadowing cue (i.e., A2) in the same or a different context. If AX1 training and subsequent extinction of A occurred in the same context, animals exhibited recovery of responding to the target cue (i.e., X) regardless of the test context. However, if AX1 training and extinction of A occurred in different contexts, behavior depended on the test context. If X was tested in the overshadowing context, overshadowing was observed. But if X was tested in the context where A had been extinguished or in a third (neutral) context, overshadowing was not observed. Thus, context modulates comparator effects in a manner somewhat similar to how it modulates simple Pavlovian responding. The notable exception was that robust responding to both A and X was observed in the neutral context, which is problematic for most contemporary theories of learning.

Additional Information

Gunther, L. M., Denniston, J. C., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Renewal of comparator stimuli. Learning and Motivation, 29(2): 200-219. (May 1998) Published by Elsevier (ISSN: 1095-9122). DOI:10.1006/lmot.1998.1003
Language: English
Date: 1998

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