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Summation: further assessment of a configural theory

Pearce, John M.; George, David N.; Aydin, Aydan


John M. Pearce

Aydan Aydin


Rats received Pavlovian conditioning in which food was signalled by a visual stimulus, A+, an auditory stimulus, B+, and a compound composed of different visual and auditory stimuli, CD+. Test trials were then given with the compound AB. Experiments 1 and 2A revealed stronger responding during AB than during CD. In Experiment 2B, there was no evidence of a summation of responding during AB when A+ B+ training was conducted in the absence of CD+ trials. A further failure to observe abnormally strong responding during AB was found in Experiment 3 for which the training trials with A+ B+ CD+ were accompanied by trials in which C and D were separately paired with food. The results are explained in terms of a configural theory of conditioning, which assumes that responding during a compound is determined by generalization from its components, as well as from other compounds to which it is similar.


Pearce, J. M., George, D. N., & Aydin, A. (2002). Summation: further assessment of a configural theory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series B Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55(1b), 61-73.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2002
Journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B. Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Print ISSN 0272-4995
Electronic ISSN 1464-1321
Publisher Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 1b
Pages 61-73
Keywords Discrimination; Stimulus; Pavlovian conditioning
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