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Selective association learning in the rat generality of response system

, : Selective association learning in the rat generality of response system. Learning & Motivation 15(1): 58-84

Three experiments with rats examined the possibility that the cue-consequence specificity effect is not mediated by the conditioning of selective associations but instead reflects the selective behavioral expression of taste-illness and exteroceptive-shock conditioning. Experiment 1 showed that the selective aversion performance could be obtained despite the use of locomotor withdrawal from the CS [conditioned stimulus] as the index of conditioning. Experiment 2 compared the response profiles of animals conditioned with footshock or illness to presentation of a saccharin or noise CS. During the test with noise CS, Li-conditioned subjects did not differ from control rats on any of several behavioral categories, but shock-conditioned rats showed high levels of freezing in response to the noise cue. During the saccharin test, Li-treated rats engaged in behaviors such as chin wiping, head shaking and gaping; these behaviors were rarely or never seen in shock-conditioned rats or controls, whose behavioral profiles during the saccharin test were almost identical. Experiment 3, using a blocking design, found that a noise-Li pairing did not attenuate subsequent conditioning of a saline-Li association, nor did a saccharin-shock pairing interfere with conditioning of a noise-shock association. The cue-consequence specificity effect is mediated by the selective associability of taste with illness and of exteroceptive cues with footshock.


DOI: 10.1016/0023-9690(84)90016-x

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