Animal learning & behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 277–287 | Cite as

Blocking with serial and simultaneous compounds in a trace conditioning procedure

  • Elizabeth A. Kohler
  • John J. B. Ayres


Blocking of conditioned suppression in rats was studied in three experiments using serial and simultaneous compounds in Pavlovian trace conditioning procedures. Experimental groups were first given trace conditioning trials with a 2-sec stimulus (A) presented at least 60 sec before an electric grid shock US. Next, both experimental and control groups received reinforced trials with a compound stimulus (AB). Both A and B were 2 sec in duration and were presented at least 60 sec before the US. For some groups during AB training, the A stimulus preceded the B stimulus; for others, B preceded A; for still others, A and B occurred simultaneously. Conditioning was subsequently assessed separately to both A and B. The results were as follows: First, varying the interval between the onset of A and the US during A training appeared to produce significantly different levels of conditioning to A but did not detectably affect A’s ability to block conditioning to B. Second, blocking was observed in both simultaneous and serial procedures. Third, in the serial procedure, A blocked conditioning to B whether it preceded B or followed B in the AB compound. Fourth, in tests given after AB conditioning, the experimental and control groups suppressed similarly to A. The relevance of these results to the conditioning model of Rescorla and Wagner (1972) and to Mackintosh’s (1975b) theory of attention are discussed.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Kohler
    • 1
  • John J. B. Ayres
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherst

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