Extinction of a conditioned emotional response: Massed and distributed exposures

Morrie Baum, Terry Andrus, W. J. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Using the lick-suppression methodology of Jacobs, Buttrick & Kennedy (Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 23, 29-34, 1988), a conditioned emotional response (CER) was established in 24 rats using off-the-baseline pairings of a light (the conditional stimulus) and brief footshock (the unconditional stimulus). Following conditioning, the rats were assigned to one of three extinction groups differing in whether they received massed or distributed off-the-baseline exposure to the conditional stimulus. The effects of differential treatment were assessed on-the-baseline on test days, when the extinction of the CER was monitored. Rats receiving a single, long exposure to the conditional stimulus showed greater resistance to extinction than the rats in the distributed groups. They also showed a difference pattern of CER extinction. The results were discussed and compared to similar studies that have explored the massed vs distributed dimension, both in CER and avoidance-extinction (using response prevention or flooding). The relation of animal studies to parallel human studies using exposure therapy was also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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