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In an experiment with rats, an appetitive conditioning method was used to investigate the generality of the hypothesis that extinction should arouse attention to contextual cues, resulting in all learning in that context becoming context specific. Rats received appetitive conditioning with a tone either while extinction of a flasher occurred (Group With Extinction) or while it did not (Group No Extinction). Half of each group was subsequently tested in extinction in the context in which training had taken place or in a different context. The results revealed a three-way interaction of extinction and context with trials, in a direction opposite to the one the hypothesis would suggest. When rats were tested in a different context, there was generally better responding in Group With Extinction than in Group No Extinction. In the same context, there was generally lower responding in Group With Extinction than in Group No Extinction. Subsequent testing showed an ABA recovery effect. Results are discussed in terms of the challenges they pose for the revised retrieval theory presented by Callejas-Aguilera and Rosas (2011).
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- Concurrent extinction does not render appetitive conditioning context specific
James Byron Nelson
Samuel P. Léon
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