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Acquisition of superexcitatory properties by and irrelvant background stimulus

Williams, Douglas A., Mehta, Rick, Poworoznyk, Tracy M., Orihel, Jane S., George, David Noel and Pearce, John Martindale 2002. Acquisition of superexcitatory properties by and irrelvant background stimulus. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 28 (3) , pp. 284-297. 10.1037/0097-7403.28.3.284

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Six appetitive conditioning experiments with rats demonstrated that an irrelevant X accompanying a negative patterning discrimination (XA+, XB+, XAB-) acquires extraordinarily high levels of conditioned excitation. Responding to X was similar to that evoked by 2 excitors in combination (Experiment 1) and was greater than responding to a separately reinforced Y (Experiments 2-5). Superexcitatory properties were not acquired by X in the nonpatterning discriminations of Experiments 2-4. Experiment 5 found that A and B, if anything, were weakly excitatory. Making them more strongly excitatory after conditioning did not interfere with retention of the original discrimination (Experiment 6). Results support a counterintuitive prediction of associative theories that, under carefully arranged conditions, irrelevant stimuli may acquire superexcitatory properties.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0097-7403
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:11

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