Inhibitory associations between neutral stimuli: A comparative approach

Abstract

In Experiments 1A, 1B, and 1C, nonhuman subjects, rats, received long alternated exposures to two compound flavors, AX and BX, that shared one flavor in common, X. Following this, conditioning of an aversion to A was sufficient to establish B as a conditioned inhibitor of the aversive unconditioned stimulus, passing both summation and retardation tests. Two additional experiments (Experiments 2 and 3) expanded the generality of these results to humans, using similar designs but an auditory discrimination learning task. A set of notes sequentially presented served as cues and fictitious composers served as outcomes. Both summation and retardation effects were found (Experiments 2 and 3, respectively). Experiment 4 then sought to clarify the mechanism underlying these effects. The results are discussed within several theoretical frameworks, most centrally the McLaren, Kaye, and Mackintosh (1989) theory of perceptual learning.

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Correspondence to V. D. Chamizo.

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This research was supported by Grant PB97-0965 from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia. The human equipment was built in the Departament d’Engineria de Sistemes, Automàtica i Informàtica Industrial of the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya. We are very grateful to Antoni Besses for elaborating the score used in the human experiments and for his musical advice in collaboration with Montserrat Vall-lloveras. We are also grateful to Helena Matute for her many helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript and to Ralph R. Miller for excellent comments and for endless patience with the final manuscript in order to improve our English writing.

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Artigas, A.A., Chamizo, V.D. & Peris, J.M. Inhibitory associations between neutral stimuli: A comparative approach. Animal Learning & Behavior 29, 46–65 (2001). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03192815

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Keywords

  • Perceptual Learning
  • Associative Strength
  • Neutral Stimulus
  • Compound Stimulus
  • Summation Test