Four experiments investigated the relative degree of control exerted by several conditional stimuli when each stimulus: (a) preceded shock, (b) followed shock, and preceded a shock-free interval, (c) was independent of shock, or (d) was novel. When the onset of an auditory stimulus had preceded shock (Experiments 1, 2A, and 3), it always exerted conditioned excitatory control. When the same stimulus preceded a shock-free interval, it never exerted conditioned inhibitory control. When the onset of light (Experiments 2B, 4), silence (2C), or darkness (1, 2D) preceded a shock-free interval, it always exerted conditioned inhibitory control. However, when one of the latter stimuli preceded shock, it failed to exert excitatory control. Several models of this phenomenon were tested. The implications of these results for the species-specific defence reaction and two-factor theory accounts of avoidance learning were outlined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology