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Extinction of a Pavlovian-conditioned inhibitor leads to stimulus-specific inhibition

Authors
  • Polack, Cody W.1
  • Laborda, Mario A.1, 2
  • Miller, Ralph R.1
  • 1 State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, 13902-6000, USA , Binghamton (United States)
  • 2 University of Chile, Santiago, Chile , Santiago (Chile)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & Behavior
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Nov 12, 2019
Volume
48
Issue
2
Pages
234–245
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13420-019-00396-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Conditioned inhibitors have been shown to be largely unaffected by non-reinforced exposure (i.e., extinction treatment). Although excitatory associations are readily diminished by extinction treatment, so-called inhibitory associations appear to be largely immune to them. In two fear-conditioning experiments with rats, it was found that a decrease in inhibitory control can result from a massive number of extinction exposures to the inhibitor. Experiment 1 provided evidence that extinction treatment attenuated negative summation between the potential inhibitor and a transfer excitor. However, the extinction treatment had no influence on responding to the original training compound, indicating that some stimulus-specific inhibitory potential remained even after massive extinction. Experiment 2 indicated that retarded excitatory acquisition to the inhibitory stimulus observed after extinction treatment of the inhibitor is no greater than that following a similar amount of stimulus pre-exposure without prior inhibition training (i.e., latent inhibition). The findings indicate that inhibitory associations can be extinguished with large numbers of extinction trials, but they appear to be much more resistant to extinction than excitatory associations.

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