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Asymmetrical effects of pavlovian excitatory and inhibitory aversive transfer on pavlovian appetitive responding and acquisition

Asymmetrical effects of pavlovian excitatory and inhibitory aversive transfer on pavlovian appetitive responding and acquisition

Learning & Motivation 16(1): 35-62

Predictions of a theory of Pavlovian motivational transfer, which incorporates principles of both the theory of reciprocal inhibition and the Rescorla-Wagner model, were tested in several Pavlovian aversive to Pavlovian appetitive transfer tasks in rabbits. The presence of a signal for an aversive event, conditioned stimulus (AV CS+), reliably suppressed performance of appetitive conditioned responses (CR) whether imposed during acquisition or on independently established responding. Acquisition of appetitive responding to a novel CS reinforced in compound with an AV CS+, however, was enhanced ("superconditioning"). The effects of a discrepancy between expectation and actual outcome on a conditioning trial are apparently influenced by the affective value of both the expectation and the reinforcer. These transfer effects were not symmetrical for an inhibitory aversive stimulus (AV CS-). An AV CS- did not enhance appetitive responding compared to a random control condition, nor did the AV CS- reduce (i.e., block) appetitive conditioning to a novel CS when appetitive reinforcement occurred in the presence of the AV CS-. Comparison of the 2 shock-exposed conditions with a naive control condition suggests that previous results that were apparently consistent with inhibitory aversive enhancement and blocking of appetitive conditioning may have been due to aversive context conditioning.

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Accession: 004792452

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DOI: 10.1016/0023-9690(85)90003-7

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