Information and expression of simultaneous and backward associations: Implications for contiguity theory

Louis D. Matzel, Fran P. Held, Ralph R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Five conditioned lick-suppression experiments with water-deprived rats examined the possibility that simultaneous and backward associations are learned, but are not expressed as anticipatory responses in common indexes of associative strength. Experiments 1-4 used a sensory preconditioning procedure in which clicks preceded the onset of a tone. Subsequently, the tone was paired with footshock in either a forward, simultaneous, or backward arrangement. In no case did the tone trained in the simultaneous or backward manner elicit a conditioned response. However, Experiments 1, 2, and 3 determined that the clicks, which predicted the tone, evoked equally strong conditioned responses regardless of whether the tone was paired with the shock in a forward, simultaneous, or backward manner. Experiment 4 found that responding to the clicks was degraded following postconditioning extinction of the tone, regardless of whether the tone had been paired with the shock in a forward or simultaneous manner. Experiment 5 determined that if the click and tone were paired simultaneously, the click failed a test for excitation following tone-shock simultaneous pairings but passed a test for excitation following tone-shock forward pairings. Collectively, these findings suggest that predictive information (i.e., a forward relationship between stimuli) is not necessary for the acquisition of an association, but may promote the expression of the association in an anticipatory response system. Moreover, these results suggest that associations are not simple linkages, but contain information regarding the temporal relationship of the associates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-344
Number of pages28
JournalLearning and Motivation
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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