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Differences in context sensitivity for second-learned inhibitory and excitatory stimuli in AAB and ABC designs

Differences in context sensitivity for second-learned inhibitory and excitatory stimuli in AAB and ABC designs
Differences in context sensitivity for second-learned inhibitory and excitatory stimuli in AAB and ABC designs
Bouton (1997) proposed a model to explain Pavlovian conditioning according to which the order of the associations (first-learned or second-learned), not the valence of the associations (inhibitory or excitatory), determines context sensitivity in AAB and ABC renewal designs. As a consequence, Bouton’s model does not predict important differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs. However, evidence suggests that there are indeed differences in context sensitivity between these two designs (e.g. Üngör & Lachnit, 2008). The aim of this thesis is to explore the role of context sensitivity of second-learned associations in AAB and ABC designs. Eight experiments are presented. Experiments 1 to 3 explored the context sensitivity of second-learned excitatory associations and second-learned inhibitory associations produced by extinction in AAB and ABC designs. The results of these experiments showed strong context sensitivity in ABC designs, both in excitatory and inhibitory second-learned associations. Yet, no context sensitivity was observed in AAB designs in any condition. Experiments 4 to 6 explored the context sensitivity of second learned inhibitory associations using a feature negative procedure to produce inhibition. No context sensitivity was found for second-learned inhibitory associations produced by this procedure. Possible reasons for this lack of effect are discussed. Experiments 7 and 8 aimed at providing an explanation for the results of Experiments 1 to 3 of this thesis. Two mechanisms to explain differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs were explored: the number and length of trials (Gallistel & Gibbon, 2000; Haselgrove & Pearce, 2003), and the comparator hypothesis (Miller & Matzel, 1988). The results of Experiments 7 and 8 were not able to explain differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs. Overall, the results of this thesis show context sensitivity in ABC designs but not in AAB designs. This thesis finishes by discussing how the difference in context sensitivity between ABC and AAB designs can be explained based on Üngör and Lachnit’s (2008) argument that context is codified during the first stage.
Elgueta, Tito
f67438d7-9ba4-4db9-910e-c3c1728c6f67
Elgueta, Tito
f67438d7-9ba4-4db9-910e-c3c1728c6f67
Glautier, Steven
964468b2-3ad7-40cc-b4be-e35c7dee518f

Elgueta, Tito (2014) Differences in context sensitivity for second-learned inhibitory and excitatory stimuli in AAB and ABC designs. University of Southampton, Psychology, Doctoral Thesis, 158pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Bouton (1997) proposed a model to explain Pavlovian conditioning according to which the order of the associations (first-learned or second-learned), not the valence of the associations (inhibitory or excitatory), determines context sensitivity in AAB and ABC renewal designs. As a consequence, Bouton’s model does not predict important differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs. However, evidence suggests that there are indeed differences in context sensitivity between these two designs (e.g. Üngör & Lachnit, 2008). The aim of this thesis is to explore the role of context sensitivity of second-learned associations in AAB and ABC designs. Eight experiments are presented. Experiments 1 to 3 explored the context sensitivity of second-learned excitatory associations and second-learned inhibitory associations produced by extinction in AAB and ABC designs. The results of these experiments showed strong context sensitivity in ABC designs, both in excitatory and inhibitory second-learned associations. Yet, no context sensitivity was observed in AAB designs in any condition. Experiments 4 to 6 explored the context sensitivity of second learned inhibitory associations using a feature negative procedure to produce inhibition. No context sensitivity was found for second-learned inhibitory associations produced by this procedure. Possible reasons for this lack of effect are discussed. Experiments 7 and 8 aimed at providing an explanation for the results of Experiments 1 to 3 of this thesis. Two mechanisms to explain differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs were explored: the number and length of trials (Gallistel & Gibbon, 2000; Haselgrove & Pearce, 2003), and the comparator hypothesis (Miller & Matzel, 1988). The results of Experiments 7 and 8 were not able to explain differences in context sensitivity between AAB and ABC designs. Overall, the results of this thesis show context sensitivity in ABC designs but not in AAB designs. This thesis finishes by discussing how the difference in context sensitivity between ABC and AAB designs can be explained based on Üngör and Lachnit’s (2008) argument that context is codified during the first stage.

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Published date: 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Psychology

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Local EPrints ID: 372267
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/372267
PURE UUID: cca3bdc9-e726-4648-b0e9-00d14b67f483

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Date deposited: 09 Dec 2014 14:57
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:43

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