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  • Cited by 9
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: August 2010

2 - Latent inhibition and extinction: their signature phenomena and the role of prediction error

from Current topics in latent inhibition research

Summary

Introduction

The simplest way to study learning is to expose subjects to a stimulus and then assess whether they show some effect which is absent in subjects lacking that experience (see Rescorla, 1998). One stimulus exposure effect is latent inhibition. Subjects in one group but not another are exposed to a stimulus in the absence of any other scheduled event. Then subjects in both groups are exposed to a signaling relation between that stimulus (the conditioned stimulus (CS)) and a motivationally significant event (an unconditioned stimulus (US)). The responding elicited by the CS in subjects just exposed to the signaling relation is depressed in those pre-exposed to the stimulus. Conditioned responding is said to have been latently inhibited by the prior stimulus-alone exposures. This effect has also been observed in a within-subject design where subjects are first exposed to one stimulus but not to another and then to a signaling relation between each of these stimuli and a US. Responding develops more rapidly to the novel CS than to one that had been pre-exposed (e.g., Killcross & Robbins, 1993; Rescorla, 2002a, 2002b).

Another effect of stimulus exposures is extinction. Two groups of subjects are exposed to a signaling relation between a CS and US. Then subjects in one group but not the other are exposed to the CS in the absence of any other scheduled event. The responding elicited by the CS in subjects just exposed to the signaling relation is depressed in those that additionally received the CS-alone exposures.

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