- Unpaired shocks during extinction weaken the contextual renewal of a conditioned discrimination
- Learning and Motivation
- Volume | Issue number
- 41 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Extinction is generally more fragile than conditioning, as illustrated by the contextual renewal effect. The traditional extinction procedure entails isolated presentations of the conditioned stimulus. Extinction may be boosted by adding isolated presentations of
the unconditioned stimulus, as this should augment breaking the contingency between the two stimuli. In a human conditioning experiment with on-line expectancy ratings and electrodermal responding as dependent variables, 32 participants were differentially
conditioned to two neutral figures using electric shock. After a change of context, one group received normal extinction treatment whereas another group received explicitly unpaired presentations of the figures and shock. At test, the two figures were presented in the original context again. For both measures, only the group that received normal extinction showed renewal of the conditioned discrimination. These results suggest that unpaired shocks during extinction strengthen the extinction learning.
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