Acquired equivalence and generalized suppression in a virtual reality environment
Acquired equivalence was investigated using a virtual reality conditioned suppression task administered in a first-person-shooter game. Two visual cues, A1 and B1, were followed by a tone (O1), and another two cues, A2 and B2, were followed by another tone (O2). During differential Pavlovian conditioning, A1 was paired with an instructed unconditioned stimulus (US) consisting of a flashing white screen, whereas A2 was not. All cues and outcomes were then presented at test, in the absence of the US, and suppression ratios were calculated for multiple response topographies (shots, hits, and breaks). Clear evidence of the suppression of shots was seen for A1 and B1, with no suppression being seen for either A2 or B2. Presentations of O1 and O2 resulted in significant suppression of shots and hits, whereas only O1 led to the suppression of breaks. The US expectancy ratings were consistent with these behavioral results. The findings are discussed in the light of differing accounts of acquired equivalence.
KeywordsAcquired equivalence Generalization Conditioned suppression Virtual reality environment
This research was supported by a grant from the BIAL Foundation (106/10). We thank Ellen Vervoort for helpful discussion.
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