Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Blocking

  • Miguel A. Vadillo
  • Itxaso Barberia
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1236-1

Definition

In the associative learning literature, blocking is typically defined as a deficit in responding to a conditioned stimulus (CS) that has always been paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US) in the presence of another CS previously established as a reliable predictor of the same US.

Background

Until the late 1960s, it was generally assumed that the mere temporal and spatial contiguity between a CS and a US was a necessary and sufficient condition for conditioning to take place. The discovery of blocking by Leon Kamin ( 1968) was the first of a series of findings that defied this view, stimulating the development of modern learning theories. His seminal experiments on blocking relied in the experimental design summarized in Table 1. As can be seen, in this experimental design, subjects in both groups experienced the same number of pairings between a light (L) and an electric shock. However, conditioned responding (CR) to the light was significantly stronger in the control...
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References

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Psicología BásicaUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Cognition, Development and Educational PsychologyUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain