Latent inhibition: A trace conditioning phenomenon?

Terry L. DeVietti, Robert L. Bauste, Gary Nutt, Owen V. Barrett, Kevin Daly, Allen D. Petree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    An informal model of latent inhibition (LI), the trace hypothesis, is described. This hypothesis holds that preexposure (PE) to the to-be-conditioned stimulus alters the salience (associability) of the CS such that only the onset and initial segments, but not the later segments, are capable of supporting conditioning when paired with a US. Thus, LI is effectively a trace conditioning phenomenon. Four experiments used rats and a one-trial fear-conditioning task to test predictions which stem from this hypothesis. Experiment 1 showed conditioning performance decreased as trace intervals increased between 0 and 12 s, thus demonstrating the sensitivity of this task to trace intervals proposed by the trace hypothesis to produce LI. Consistent with the trace hypothesis, LI was found to be an increasing function of the CS duration (Experiment 2), the number of PE trials (Experiment 3), and the US onset during a 15-s CS (Experiment 4). These data are somewhat problematic for several explanations of LI, but, in general, the trace hypothesis extends extant explanations by focusing on changes in salience within a given presentation of the CS.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-201
    Number of pages17
    JournalLearning and Motivation
    Volume18
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1987

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