Testing Response Generation Rules

Ralph R. Miller, Todd R. Schachtman, Louis D. Matzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Robbins (1988) reported data that he viewed as inconsistent with Miller and Schachtman's (1985a) comparator hypothesis of conditioned response generation. Here we explain why we do not find his experiments a compelling test of the comparator hypothesis. We also briefly review other studies that tested the same predictions of the comparator hypothesis that Robbins examined. We conclude that there is considerable evidence that following excitatory or inhibitory conditioning with a target conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US), extinction of other cues that were present during CS training ordinarily increases excitatory responding and decreases inhibitory responding to the CS. However, consistent with Robbins's conclusion, there is scant evidence that after CS-US training, enhancing the associative value of other cues that were present during CS training influences excitatory or inhibitory responding to the CS. The implications of these conclusions for the comparator hypothesis as an explanation of differences in acquired behavior and as a heuristic tool are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-429
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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