Blocking with a single compound trial
Three theories of classical conditioning were examined with regard to the earliest conditioning trial on which blocking could first occur. One theory (Rescorla & Wagner, 1972) predicts the occurrence of blocking on the first compound trial, whereas the other two (Mackintosh, 1975b; Pearce & Hall, 1980) predict that blocking will not occur until after the first compound trial. Using conditioned suppression of licking in water-deprived rats as a measure of associative strength, we found that substantial blocking of tone-footshock (X-US) associations occurred when a single light plus tone-footshock (AX-US) pairing followed 12 A-US pairings. The results are discussed in light of previous attempts to obtain one-trial blocking, and the implications of all of these studies for classical conditioning theory are considered.
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