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The fate of redundant cues during blocking and a simple discrimination

Pearce, John Martindale, Dopson, Jemma C., Haselgrove, Mark and Esber, Guillem R. 2012. The fate of redundant cues during blocking and a simple discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 38 (2) , pp. 167-179. 10.1037/a0027662

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In each of three experiments animals received blocking, A+ AX+, in which food was always presented after one stimulus, A, that was occasionally accompanied by another stimulus, X. They also received a simple discrimination, AX+ BX−, in which the presence and absence of food was signaled by two compounds that contained one unique cue, A or B, and one common cue, X. In each of these designs, X can be said to be redundant relative to A as a signal for food. Test trials at the end of training revealed that responding during X was stronger after blocking than after the simple discrimination. These results contradict predictions from theories of learning that assume changes in associative strength of a stimulus are determined by a global error term based on the outcome predicted by all the stimuli that are present for a conditioning trial. The results are interpreted, instead, by assuming either that animals store a memory of every trial to which they have been exposed, or that learning is governed by an error term based on the significance of individual stimuli.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 1939-2184
Funders: BBSRC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 20:12

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